Like many people, I took some time in July to check out the musical Hamilton and was instantly in love. This show has a lot to say about our country, culture, and our relationships with people. One line in particular has really stuck with me, “History has its eyes on you.” This is a recurring theme in the show often mentioned by George Washington. Do you think the founders could have imagined our country in 2020? I suspect they knew they were drastically shaping history but to what extent?
History has its eyes on you… me… us. What will history say about 2020? Will it say that Breonna Taylors killers walked free or that the people demanded justice for her stolen life? Will it say that when faced with a global pandemic people came together and supported one another? Will it say that we turned a corner in 2020 and thought differently about what is and isn’t important in our lives? Will it say that this was the year the tide shifted irreparably on climate change?
Will people look back 250 years from now and wonder if we realized the importance of the time we lived in? We are the ones who will determine what History says about us. So, what do you want it to say?
My inbox is full of commentaries and stories about the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. It is right that we remember and relive the horror of our decision to needlessly and brutally sacrifice over 140,000 people and cause untold suffering, loss and environmental destruction. That day in 1945 more than anything unleashed a new era where it was possible to imagine the annihilation of humankind. The Captain of that bomber plane wrote in his log, “What have we done?” and so many others associated with it have verbalized regrets.
The Hibakusha, survivors of the bombing, took another path. They have committed themselves to educating the world about the tragedies of war and the dangers of nuclear weapons. They joined Japanese Americans interned in camps during the war to stand up for the asylum seekers on our southern border. And they have spoken out about the need for solidarity with all mankind as we tackle the effects of COVID-19. They also travel the world to plant trees of peace from the cuttings of a tree that survived the bomb. Each year on this day, they gather to pray for the victims and call on people across the world to work for peace. Today, let us ask ourselves, how will we answer?
Join the Hiroshima 75th memorial “Peace+Art+Music” global 10 hour broadcast today at https://www.midheaven.network/
Make a peace crane at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfnyopxdJXQ and share it with someone
Hike to Missoula’s Peace Park, spend a moment of silent reflection and leave someone a message of peace
The funeral for Congressman John Lewis will take place at 11 am today, July 30, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He wrote an article to be published today in which he said, “Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.” I definitely want to be about the work of redeeming the soul of this country, but being called to make trouble is a little edgy and uncomfortable, and I have to admit that it makes me a little nervous to think about causing trouble. Perhaps as nervous as Jeannette was walking into the halls of Congress for the first time. Perhaps as difficult as it was for the young black man in Missoula to tell his story to the Mayor and City Council and to keep re-telling it. And perhaps as uncomfortable as it was for our Fr. Jim Hogan Search for Peace awardee to speak up for justice when his teacher asked him not to wear a shirt with Colin Kaepernick on it. Incidentally Mr. Kaepernick went from a football player to an activist overnight by seeing one bit of trouble that was necessary and stepping into it. So I wonder, what is the the good and necessary trouble that I am called to? Will I recognize it? Will I be able and willing to get over my discomfort and own it? Answering these questions for myself will be my way of honoring the service and sacrifice of Congressman Lewis to make sure the seeds he planted sprout and grow…Betsy
At a time when we all need some good news and some hope in the world, I have some light to share. I’d like to introduce you to three of the young people in our community who are walking the walk to make a difference — three who are living John Lewis’ call to seek out “good trouble”.
- Mica Kantor is a leader in the climate protests in Missoula. Often, he and his mom are the only ones out there. And he shows up for many climate-related marches around the state, including the Sunrise Movement trainings. Even though he is just in the 5th grade, Micah is showing that you can stand for what you believe in by just showing up quietly and persistently week after week.
- Sylvie Aganoti-Tower is a youth leader on EmpowerMT’s Youth Advisory Council and a co-facilitator for their Middle school EPIC group to develop leadership skills. She was an emcee in the community MLK day celebration and is working to create a BIPOC support group to work for racial justice at her school. She is a positive role
model to youth and adults alike seeking to understand others and find common ground through knowledge and validation.
- Asher Barnes is an 8th grader who has been working for justice and peace for many years, quietly standing up for his peers who are ostracized and not afraid of speaking up for his beliefs and what he believes to be right. Viewed as a leader by his peers, he doesn’t shy away from conflict and even stood up to criticism from a teacher for his support of Colin Kaepernick and the BLM movement. He has helped raise money for efforts in this community and around the world because he believes, “If we want the world to change, we have to work for it.” His example is indeed a model for all of us who want the world to change.
These three young people are the finalists in the Fr. Jim Hogan Search For Peace award. We will be honoring them on Wednesday, July 29 at 7:50 pm at the Bonner Park Band Shell, just before the City Band begins to play and one of them will receive the Medallion Award. Thanks to Gary Gillett and the band for giving us this opportunity to bring a positive note to our world. Join Fr. Hogan and I (with a mask and some distance of course) on Wednesday for three examples of the best of Missoula’s youth and the music of our Missoula City Band.
See you there, Betsy
On Thursday July 16 Betsy wrote..
I invite you to join me in the peace park at 9 am this Saturday, July 18, to work on clearing some weeds and adding a fresh layer of white cloth so that “peace” shines through clearer. Bring white scraps of fabric (old sheets, towels, rags or ones you can gather from a thrift store), gloves, water and weeding tools and meet me there. Together let’s make peace more visible…Betsy
Speaking of peace signs in the North hills… We are currently searching for a contractor to help us with a project to put a different peace sign back together! If you are or know of a contractor who might be willing to help bring back some Missoula peace community history email us at firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com or call 406-543-3955.