Peace bubbles

Progress in the struggle

Melvin Giles

Progress in the struggle

Hello Midway Como Frogtown Monitor readers,

This month I’m sharing two proverbs and words of encouragement and wisdom that I find helpful in navigating through our 2020 season of pandemics.

The first proverb comes from the Red Cross African America HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention course from the mid-1980s. “When Spider Webs United, They Can Tie Up A Lion”; it’s an Ethiopian Proverb. The Red Cross wanted to emphasis that when government agencies, non-profits, businesses, health organizations, and community work in cooperation that together they could tie up the devastating and deadly impact of HIV/AIDS.

Today is no different, in regards to COVID-19.

We have to rise to work together in a cooperative, respectful, and on-going manner. It’s not about agreeing 100% with a COVID prevention method or about giving up our values or having our rights violated; however, it is about taking a breath and doing the Right Thing. It took awhile to tie up HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 will take longer than we want; however, it was authentic and selfless versus fearful and selfish leadership that made the big difference. Out of authentic and selfless leadership weaved compassion, empathy, and science, which tied up HIV/AIDS. We can tie up COVID-19 working together with shared-leadership on equitable levels.

Hopefully, you have heard these words of encouragement and wisdom before:

Lessons from geese

As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson 1 – People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Fact 2 – When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front of it.

Lesson 2 – If we have as much common sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

Fact 3 – When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Lesson 3 – It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each others’ skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, or resources.

Fact 4 – Geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson 4 – We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

Fact 5 – When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

Lesson 5 – If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong

The lessons from the wise geese are great methods for us to practice together and to live them as best we can. Mayor M. Carter III and others often quote the late-dear Paul Wellstone, “We Do Better, When We All Do Better”! Brother George Floyd’s killing has been lifting us up all across the country and around the world. Uprisings and televised revolutions are struggling and moving forward demanding and proclaiming that Black Lives Matter; and more and more people are hearing it and beginning to understand the toxic history as told by a white supremacy myth and a false imposed narrative of Blackness and of the intentional lies about the artful, skillful, and beautiful people from Africa. The time is now to correct the wrongs of the past and present.

We have to be easy on ourselves, however, we have to be honest and truthful with ourselves too. Busting out of denial is very, very hard, particularly when we try to do it alone and deny and ignore the lessons from geese.

My second proverb is from Fredrick Douglass: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Have an uplifting and a meaningful learning-struggling September!!!!!! Peace.


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