Monday, April 3, 2023

Interesting or Stupid? The Game We Play Every Day

April 2nd is National Reconciliation Day. I did not know that.

Today the Howard County Office of Human Rights and Equity is holding an online event in honor of National Reconciliation Day with a focus on Repairing Community Relations. You can find it on the Howard County Government’s YouTube channel beginning at 12:30 pm. 

So, here’s the thing. Every time we are presented with something we did not know, we have a choice. We can think,”Ooh! I didn’t know that. Now I want to learn more.” Or we can take one look and say, “Never heard of it. Must be stupid.” Each one of us, with our own personal history and life experiences, sifts through the information that appears before us and performs that basic action, over and over again.

Of course it isn’t as simple as that. We may say we want to learn and never get around to it. Or we may say it’s stupid but then go ahead and investigate just so we can make fun of it. Or maybe we just don’t have time for one more thing! Sheesh.

There’s so much that goes into those decisions. For instance, if you are inclined to respect the Office if Human Rights and Equity you are more likely to make that leap to learn more.  In the same way, we get used to listening to that little voice inside us that says, “I don’t like those people so I’m just not interested.” It’s not just what it is but who is saying it.

Is that small-mindedness? Sometimes. Is it a kind of triage or self-defense? Maybe. We can’t possibly pursue every single new thing all the time that comes our way, 24/7 - - especially in the era of social media and the vastness of the internet. We have to choose, or at least prioritize.

National Reconciliation Day on April 2nd each year urges us to repair relationships we have damaged through words or actions. While many different “Days of Reconciliation” are held worldwide, this specific observance takes place on April 2nd.

Our research has found several references to Reconciliation Day throughout the year. However, many give credit to newspaper columnist Ann Landers, who in 1989, in response to one of her reader’s letters, began annually promoting April 2nd as Reconciliation Day. She encouraged her readers to repair their broken relationships and dedicated each April 2nd column to letters concerning just such relationships. - - National Day Calendar

It’s easy to laugh at unexpected calendar designations like PB & J Day or Fish Fingers & Custard Day. But a pause to think about broken relationships in our lives and what it would mean to reconcile feels different. It might be a much-needed reminder for some self-reflection if not some thoughtful action. 

Today’s online event will look at community reconciliation.

Equity thought leaders reflect on the meaning of equity, reconciliation, the importance of relationship-building, and a shared vision of an interdependent and equitable community.

It might be interesting if you have the time and are so inclined. 

While I have your attention, I want to let you know about another event from @hocoohre. This one is tomorrow evening - - also online. 

The Howard County Office of Human Rights and Equity facilitates a quarterly certification in Bystander Intervention & Cultural Awareness. This is an excellent training that will help you learn how to protect and promote the humanity of those who are being targeted or harassed because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, or sexual orientation in your presence. 

This is a two hour training and it is free. Just sign up here.

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