We sit talking… surrounded by walls filled with pictures, art and history. Photo opportunities posed with presidents and celebrities, tribal masks and musical instruments fill a home that is more like museum. Those alone are topics worthy of conversation. Yet, in minutes they somehow fall into the shadows as we converse; and as we do, one painting somehow takes on a light of it’s own. “That’s my father” she pauses with a grace of appreciation.
For two hours I spend with my new friend of the day… No… I hope for life, Dolores Sheen as she talks about her life, the seeds her father planted and the work she is committed to. Her depth of spirit, character and wisdom is heartfelt and her mission to love her neighbors, and educate our children, is powerful.
She is one of those special people. The kind who like many great doers, walks with a warmth, peace and courage in reaching out to better the world around her. By no means is she financially wealthy (actually turns the bulk of her income back to community); carries no mainstream fame (although she has rubbed elbows with many of the worlds elite) and refreshingly asks for no glory in her accomplishments (which are more than enough the cover her walls, and then some).
76 years strong she has walked planet earth, and in all, has stood as a beacon to her cause: That is to do her part in getting people to look at one another as, well, basically human; unique contributors to a world filled withst diversity. Dolores holds the torch high, in boldly saying, “there is no such thing as a Nigger.” A statement that I know would cause the gaping grasp of prejudice to fall upon my shoulders if uttered from my lips. But Dolores has the credentials to make such an aggressive statement, and although I’m caught off guard at her first mention of the term (Nigger being one of the most derogatory words on the planet). How could I not respect her council, a woman of such presence, peace and knowledge?
We talk about it for a while, and as we do clarity comes to my mind. Dolores is not making a racial statement at all. What she is saying is crystal clear. What Dolores is proclaiming is the simplest fact that we are all equally human. I know, hard to swallow for some. Especially when history and much of modern mainstream media have disgracefully proven that, even though we all bleed the same red blood, many terrible atrocities have come and continue to pass. Just look at the fight for the civil rights movement and the enslaved conditions that remain on many a continent. I could go on and on, and I’m sure you have a few shadows in the closet as well. But still, with Dolores’ bold statement we have been shocked into perspective.
In her admonition, she challenges us to reflect upon our own situations, biases and personal histories, and in doing so are encouraged to deeply ponder the labels we put on each other, as well as ourselves.
Regretfully, the dark side of the equation does have negative merit. For there are many who are a divided and opposing people. Forgive me if I sound a touch fatalistic or terse. But I call it as I see it, and if I watered down my observations that would only enlist me into the club of hypocrites and over-inflated evangelists.
That said… I’ll now jump into the brighter end of the swimming pool, the side where no one has pee’d in the water.
For it is because of you, our readers; and through you, the brave many who have stepped forward to be interviewed; and with you, the contributors and followers of Operation 365, that we may all courageously unite in willingly taking the punches to simply love our neighbors. Thus a thesis is proposed and it is up to us to prove its merits.
We are “The Silent Majority.” You and I… everyday people living everyday lives. It is through us that the walls of the misinformed can be toppled down. No, we don’t all have to live the same lives or lifestyles. We don’t even have to agree with each other. That is the beauty of it all. The utter diversity is the very thing that can not only bind us together, but more importantly help us to adjust our personal perspectives. That is if we allow ourselves to drop our own barriers that block what we see at first glace.
Yes, the world is full of pains, disagreements and injustices; and most of us are injured in some way. Yes, there will always be those who exalt their power over the weaker; and yes, with the advent of new technology, along with its rapid distribution of information, the temptation to make quick assertions is ever present. But one the other hand, there is an alternate point-of-view, and its impact is certain. A cause, that through this advent of new media along with the bravery of a new generation of young warriors, could quite possibly begin to turn the wheels of perception. Therefore, might we, the old and the wise ones, do our part to teach as we listen?
Shall we all raise our chins to the world, us… the green, the purple and the orange, to embrace the message that Dolores has so eloquently encapsulated in her proclamation, “There is no such thing as a Nigger!”
Please come back tomorrow to meet Dolores, She has so much good to share and I’ve got way too much interview footage to cut in one day.
Operation-365… we were once “Strangers…” now we are “Friends.”