WE Are…
11/9 2016 and Forthward

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“We” as a country, as a nation, are clearly divided, and angry, and hurt, and scared, and making statements – this way or that way – about the need for change. That is evident.
But “WE” – the people of hope and peace and justice and inclusion and celebration of humanity – need not be divided, or dismayed, or disenfranchised, simply because folks so desperate for change somehow were able to turn a blind eye to the intolerance and a deaf ear to the bullying that were such an inherent part of the presidential campaign – and spoke louder on a given day – albeit a given day that will impact years to come.
The election is done. But WE are not – regardless of how we “feel” about the results.
WE must not lose clarity, and we must not allow ourselves to be guided by or empowered by or paralyzed by emotion – whether satisfied with the vote results,or terrified of what is to come, or wondering what difference any one person can make as we move into the future.
WE must be united, more than ever, and seek peace, and make peace, and bring peace – and simply BE the source of hope and peace while we move through the next four years.
WE can choose to respond, not react, to the results of this election.
WE must tell our children, and each other, it will be okay, somehow. And WE must choose to make it okay, by being role models and good neighbors, and by refusing to allow or be blind or deaf to intolerance or bullying – in word or action, in our homes and schools and work places and communities – in any moment or in any space and for any person.
WE must do all we can, as individuals and as families and as communities to ensure that it IS okay – not just for ourselves, but also for our neighbors – of all races and religions and realities.
WE must rise above fear, and anger, and discouragement, and disagreements, and actively tend to hope and peace, and people – one by one and many by many – so that with or despite the voices that happen to have the elected-power to lead, WE are the voices and attitudes and actions that move time and humanity forthward – with hope and with peace, and with kindness, and with indivisibility, and with justice for all.
WE must each somehow, even in the midst of a swirl of emotions, commit to “good” in attitude and action – and not become victims of emotion.
In his book, “Just Peace: A Message of Hope,” Mattie J.T Stepanek writes that we, the people, are a mosaic of gifts, but that mosaic is being shattered and the pieces scattered, because of choices that we – even as good people – are making. But he implores us to not lose hope, or let go of the endeavor for peace. He encourages us to gather every mosaic piece – bright or broken, old or new, large or small – and tend to each one, and rebuild the mosaic – with balanced choices. And he even gives us a choice-by-choice guide for journeying along pathways to peace – if we make this our choice.
It is okay to be sad, or in shock, or scared, or to have any other feelings as a result of this election. It is not okay to get stuck in feeling hopeless, or helpless. We cannot choose our feelings, but we can choose the shape of our attitudes, which unfold into words and actions.  We can process our feelings, and together, move forthward.
Hope and peace are not easy choices, but they are worthy choices – always, and for all people.
Despite the election results, and whichever side of the vote we identify with – this way or that way – we can each commit to creating the change we desperately need, without hurting others – in body or mind or spirit.
Hope is real. Believe it. 
Peace is possible. Be it. 
I Am. Together, We Are…
With prayers for our world,
Jeni (Mattie’s mom / Mama Peace).
Jeni Stepanek, PhD, is a Faculty Associate in Special Education at the University of Maryland, and serves as the Executive Director of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation. 


Attitude to Action —



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