"Our Story" is just that, the telling of thoughts and actions that have shaped our daily lives.. Our Forefront community will share their stories in the form of poems, essays, actions, and perspectives. We hope that they inspire you to do the same. Share your story at www.facebook.com/forefrontbk.
What do we do now?
When this question first started to creep into my mind—you know, back in November—I initially felt like I was surrounded by people who shared the sentiment. But then I noticed that not everyone felt the same way. Not only were some of my Facebook friends and family not asking that question, but they were also feeling pretty good about the current situation. It wasn’t “What do we do now?” It was “Ok, great! Let’s see what happens.”
While I was grappling with my own political beliefs and how to stand firm in my ideals, I was also realizing just how many people felt differently than I did. But the tricky part for me in all of this was that I’ve never been a political person. Growing up in Ohio, I was more interested in theater or writing or even my math and science classes than learning about politics and government. many people experienced confirmation bias on their social media accounts during and after the election, I had a different experience. I saw venting from my super-liberal Brooklyn friends right below celebrations from people who I knew growing up on Ohio. Calls of #notmypresident and links to Vox right next calls to give President Trump a chance and links to Fox News. As liberals called Trump voters racist and misogynistic, I couldn’t rationalize that with the Trump voters I had known and cared about for years.
I studied journalism in college and even worked as a business journalist for a while, but I never even dipped a toe into covering politics. I thought I had moved on from that journalism life, but in the end, it was that background that helped me bring together all of the disparate reactions and thoughts I was having post-election.
In the end, I did what I always did: I talked to people. Specifically, I interviewed them about their political backgrounds and beliefs. And that turned into a short, new podcast series. Each episode of my podcast, called My Two Americas, features two short interviews with two people who have different political beliefs. It’s not a debate; it’s not an argument; it’s just a conversation about why people believe what they believe. I hope that it allows people’s voices to be heard and opens up channels of communication and understanding. This podcast has done much to impact my daily rhythms.
• It’s been an exercise in patience and listening—and that’s something we can all do.
• It’s been a chance to talk about my thoughts with people who agree with me and with those who don’t and that’s something we can all do.
• It’s been an opportunity to take time to read and learn about political issues and policies—and that’s something we can all do.
• It’s been a way to hear what others are doing and get ideas for how we can work together—and that’s something we can all do.
Throughout all of this work, my faith and church have played a major role. Not only in how they influence my political beliefs, but also in how they encourage me to be open to others, give people the benefit of the doubt, and work to bring peace to this world. As a member at Forefront Church in Brooklyn, I've relied a lot on my community as I tackled this project, both for support from friends and in guidance and wisdom from leaders. We've been talking a lot about how we, as a church, can stand for what’s just and generous in this world. One Sunday after the election, as I was trying to decide just how far I wanted to go with this podcast idea, our pastor Jonathan Williams spoke about how actions are the blessing. He encouraged us to step back from just sharing opinions and make that (sometimes uncomfortable) action. That is where the blessing will come. If it's something that scares you a little, then it's probably worth exploring. That kind of thinking, which encourages people to grow, was exactly what I needed to take this step and then some.
So the next time you find yourself asking, "What do we do now?" Or any of its variations: What can I do to make an impact? What should I be doing? Will it even matter? Just stop, step away from Facebook, take a breath, and look around you. Find someone who thinks differently than you and listen to them. Find someone you admire and listen to them. Find someone who is taking action and listen to them. And then you'll find what you can bring to the table—or the internet—too.