Be Love.

Our recent challenge in class is to promote, spread, give, and stand-up for love. Why? Simply because, #LoveMatters.

We are about halfway through our Genocide and Refugee Advocacy class, and I’ve never felt so passionate about a political issue before. I think everyone in my class can agree that learning about these complex and dark problems can be hard, but we are becoming better citizens in doing so. I am proud to be apart of this class, and believe I am becoming a more open-minded individual because of it. It used to be so easy for me to view refugees through the looking glass of the media and define them by what I hear from others around me. Now, with knowledge and understanding, I am creating my own powerful beliefs.

America prides itself on being the “melting pot”, but this has not been proven true when it comes to refugees. They are ridiculed by the press, discriminated against, and faced with persecution in their places of worship. Ironically, the United States of America, was born from colonizers who fled persecution in Europe and other parts of the world. I think more often, the average person in the United States forgets that refugees are human beings entitled to basic human rights. The media doesn’t  present refugees as relatable human beings with common shared experiences, instead they are defined as being part of a “particular group”. Being apart of these “groups”unfortunately, come along with multiple stereotypes and negative assumptions. I often wonder if the US would be more accepting if Sundanese refugees were swapped with Irish refugees, Syrian refugees swapped with Australian refugees, or Iraqi refugees swapped with German refugees. I bet we would. Simply because they look like us, act like us, and speak like us. As a country and a society, we are so terrified of diversity it’s almost hilarious.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won”- Gandhi

Nothing frustrates me more than people’s unwillingness to listen to different opinions and receive diverse perspectives on relevant, important issues. Why is it so hard for us to let down our guard and feel vulnerable when we hear about mass killings, hate crimes, and injustice around the world? We are all emotionally beings, whether we want to believe it or not. Emotions allow us to dig deeper into ourselves which create feelings that will evoke action. We are all put on the same earth. And we all have the capacity to come together, move forward, celebrate differences, and accept each other for who we are.

So, readers, I challenge you to Be Love. Just like Aaron challenged our class to pay attention to the love around us, and appreciate the kindness in the world, I hope you too, can open your hearts to humanity. The only way we can’t combat these horrid crimes and inequalities is to outweigh them with love. Love spreads like wildfire, so lets promote it! Challenge hate and negativity by holding on to the hope that things will get better. Embody grace. The world needs more people to show us that the heart of life is good. For it is only with the heart that one can see rightly.

-Colleen Knell

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