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The Book the Shaped My Life

When I was a little girl, my father wrote a book. Not an ordinary book, it was never published, but it was one that has really profoundly shaped who I am.

This little book was designed as a “flip chart book.” Which is the Power Point of the 60’s. It was written for him to use in church school using carefully chosen cut and paste, old school, with real scissors and real paste, to tell the story.

The story of a little girl. It talked about all the things little girls loved to do. “I love to go to parties. I love to play dress ups. I love to sing.” And on it went. Every few pages it asked a question, the same question “But why do some people hate me?” As a little girl at the time, these pictures spoke to me. These were the same things that I, my sister and brothers, loved to do. This little girl was just like me. At the end of the story came the reveal. “Why do some people hate me?” The image is etched into my memory of a little Aboriginal girl.

Just like me. A message that has often echoed through my life as I realised that opposites are the same. Someone who appears to be the complete opposite to me really is the same.

We all need that sense of belonging; we all need freedom to live our own lives. WE all want to contribute to the world and feel that something we have done has been worthwhile. We all need love.

When I hear of events such as have unfolded in the US this week of a black man dying, literally in front of the world. Being abused and mistreated essentially just because he was black, my heart bleeds.

I have come to recognise that it is not up to those who are oppressed, abused or victimized to stand up for their rights. It is up to us who are not to change the way things are. We can’t just stand behind them and say this is terrible, how can people treat them this way. Standing with them in their fight can be helpful and helps us to feel what they are feeling. To take time to walk in their shoes, to understand what it is they are going through, to feel it, really feel what it would be like.

Yet, it still isn’t enough. We need to stand in front of them and shout out to the world, “We will not accept this.” We need to stand in front of them and protect them and allow them to feel safe in our community. We need to give them a sense that we accept them for who they are and that they belong in our communities. It is only then that we can heal the wounds and start to work together to create vibrant communities that we all want to live in.

The story of prejudice is not mine. I have never been the victim. But just because it is not my story, doesn’t mean it is not my fight.

This is why I have become passionate about chocolate and coffee breaks. As it is when we sit together in a spirit of love and acceptance, we start to break down the barriers that divide us.

Take time to think about this and how it is that you feel called to make a difference. Because, you can make a difference. Just reaching out to one person will change the world. If we all do that, we have a world that we want to live in.

Share a chocolate, have a cuppa, enjoy a conversation and change the world.

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