The violence on Saturday in Charlottesville, VA, where a white supremacist protester drove his car into the opposing crowd was disturbing and shocking. Having attended the University of Virginia for undergrad myself, it was incredibly alarming and sad to think that this had happened in a place I had called home for 4 years. I also recently watched the documentary “13th” which depicts the insidious systemic racism and bigotry that has led to the mass incarcerations of blacks, Latinos, and other minorities in support of private prison labor and other corporate interests. For me, this news painted a shockingly negative, self-serving view of humanity that frankly got me down for a few days.
I am guilty of doing the on again, off again thing with the news. I’ll plug in and try to stay involved but find that the negative coverage would bring me down. I would then disengage for some time choosing ignorance in search of peace. As I become more aware however, I recognize how privileged it is for me to be able to turn a blind eye to that which is going on in the world, especially when it does affect those in my own community.
I’ve found this week particularly hard; however, I also recognize that I am not helping anybody if I succumb to the despair. The world and the number of problems are overwhelming. Where do I focus my attention first? Who do I help? How do I stay centered in times when everything feels like it’s falling apart? It is quite easy to begin to feel powerless amongst it all.