In the wake of the events of Aug. 11-12, many speak of healing. The Daily Progress editorial “Toughness, forgiveness go together” (Aug. 18), for example, was based in part on the premise that we must heal our emotions before proceeding with assessment and response.
These hopes for healing are genuine and laudable and, indeed, some wounds wrought that weekend may be reparable in the near term.
But the implication that any comprehensive “healing” is possible in the foreseeable future is an assumption borne of privilege.
Those of us whose identities and bodies are the objects of the supremacist terrorism are, and will continue to be, subjected to systemic inequalities that are ever present. Let us acknowledge that, for us, hope of “healing” is illusory.
I, for one, cannot heal while the law empowers employers to discriminate merely because of LGBTQ identity. I cannot heal from the Voting Rights Act’s gutting nor the voter suppression that has since flourished. I cannot heal in the presence of fear that my African-American family and friends will be the next victims of assumed criminality, nor from policies permitting people armed with automatic weapons to menace a synagogue during Sabbath worship.
Before we can heal, we must recognize that, while the weekend terrorism was abhorrent and frightening, it was neither surprising nor a discrete or anomalous event from which we can hope to heal and move on. Rather, it is an embodiment — albeit an extreme one — of a system of inequality that persists in this country every day. We must orient our actions toward permanent eradication of that inequality.
If the weekend was a wake-up call, may the alarm reverberate in our consciousness. Let us demand protection for civil rights; equality in education, housing, and health care; and constraints on terroristic use of weapons. Let us be mindful of our own biases, learn about the experiences of those who don’t share our identity, and develop truth and reconciliation efforts.
Only when each of us is free to live our full potential without fear, unbounded by unjust law, custom, or practice, only then will healing truly be possible.
Doron Samuel-Siegel, Albemarle County