Re: Diversity
From: Fred H Olson (fholsoncohousing.org)
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 07:28:01 -0600 (MDT)
"Cheryl A. Charis-Graves" <ccharis [at] jeffco.k12.co.us>
is the author of the message below. 
It was posted by Fred the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at] cohousing.org> 
because the message included HTML ;      PLEASE do not post HTML, see
   http://csf.colorado.edu/cohousing/2001/msg01672.html
--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------

Just for the sake of clarity, my unfortunately muddled point spoke more to
the idea of not allowing a politically-conservative group to meet in the
common house, with sponsorship of a community member, because of discomfort
with their political agenda.

As I tried to state in a later message, groups that espouse activities that
are clearly harmful or threatening to others would justifiably be excluded.
That seems obvious to me.

However, I feel that disallowing a member from holding a meeting in the
common house because their affiliation is not politically in tune with a
majority of the community could be a topic worth exploring.

I wasn¹t really talking about gun dealers or porn smugglers or racial
supremacists, which I wrongly assumed was self-evident. Don Miguel Ruiz told
me not to assume anything, but there I went and did it again!! And I¹m not
sure that a community member would be sponsoring such activities in the
common house, and that¹s a requirement in our community. I was talking about
staunch Republicans or Libertarians or even land developers. These people,
when a sincere effort is made at communication, sometimes feel marginalized
by our assumptions about what is right and good. And then they retreat into
their stereotyped views of us, which ultimately ends communication.

I don¹t always feel like going into a discussion on such things. That¹s my
right and privilege, as an individual and as a community member. I respect
others¹ boundaries in such matters. However, I do make a specific effort to
listen when such people talk. I want to understand their motives, why they
believe what they believe. Tree Bressen talks about the importance of
listening for the truth in the words of the person with whom you are in
conflict. It makes sense to me that we will only make real progress in the
way things are in the world and in our communities when we do so. To
exacerbate our differences in these arenas creates bigger walls. I¹d like to
find a way to bring those walls down, to create a larger community that
shares common values of respect and valuing one another¹s unique
though-sometimes-difficult-to-understand contributions.

This seems to me an intuitively good idea. I¹m certainly not the first
person to advocate for it. The experiences of the past year seem to me to
offer a strong rationale for the idea.

Think globally, act locally. And that, really, was my point.

Cheryl

-- 
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the
barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ? Rumi



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