By Kristen Johnson
On this day in history, November 10, 1989, Germans began tearing down the Berlin Wall. (onthisday.com). Before the wall was built, East and West Germans could move about fairly freely. After the wall was built, it was impossible to cross it without crossing one of three border checks. Given talk recently of building walls in the U.S., I think it’s important to note that the wall did not stop the flow of refugees from East to West and at least 171 people died trying to get under/over/around it. Before the wall came down, more than 5,000 East Germans managed to cross it by a variety of means. (History.com).
Rather than choosing to continue to build walls, which clearly do not work and only create hatred, fear and divisiveness, it’s important to focus on the positive. The election results this week were appalling of course, but there was some good news:
- Sheriff Joe Arpaio lost his reelection bid in Maricopa County, Arizona. So, his racism and terrorization of the local immigrant community is now a thing of the past (as least from him). (LA Times.)
- Maine, Arizona, Colorado and Washington all voted to raise the minimum wage, which is certainly a win for working people. (NPR).
- 7 states legalized (medicinally or recreationally) use of marijuana. In theory, this could lead to decriminializing drugs and easing prison populations. (NPR).
- The first Latina was elected to the Senate, and the first Indian-American woman was elected to the House. (Elle)
- The people of Oregon elected the first-ever open LGBT governor in the U.S. (Telegraph).
- Florida elected the first Vietnamese-American woman for Congress. (NY Mag).
- Unions in Virginia defeated a “right-to-work” constitutional amendment, which is a definite victory for unions. (Huffington Post). Let’s hope similar victories ensue in other states.
It’s important to celebrate victories for working people, diversity, and inclusiveness for all. These positive steps are little building blocks for us to continue to build on for the future.
Proverbs 17:22 (NRSV): A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
Let’s continue to work together for change. It starts with you.
Serve all with love.
Photo courtesy of: stocksnap.io