Hope Beyond the Horizon-Closing Ceremony
In the closing remarks of the Desmond Tutu Center’s first Biennial Conference, Congressman André Carson joined the conversation on where we should go from here to continue our efforts on healing, liberation, and reconciliation in a session called “Hope Beyond the Horizon.” Congressman Carson is currently serving his 4th term as U.S. representative for Indiana’s 7th congressional district. He is a very influential public leader who is consistently fighting for fair wages, economic growth, and providing safer communities for families throughout Indiana. Over the past eight years, he has been able to secure hundreds of millions of dollars for investments in public safety, education, and the protection of good paying jobs.
In this session, Congressman Carson reminded us that no matter what our religious or spiritual identity is, we all share one common rule, and that is the golden rule – treat others how you want to be treated. At the end of the day, we all just want the same thing – to address poverty, improve the educational system, and put an end to all the ‘-isms’ (racism, sexism, etc). He concluded his remarks by reflecting that in today’s society, we must have no fear and we must stand up to be a part of the change.
As he moved on through a question and answer portion of this session, many focused on the political changes that are happening now. With President-elect Trump now preparing to take office, many were curious on how Congressman Carson was going to be working with someone whose viewpoint stems from a completely different place than his. Audience members recognized that he is now faced with the difficult task of working with someone who has built their campaign off of bigotry and wanted to know how he will both work with the new administration while also fighting against the ideals the Trump administration espouses that he disagrees with.
Further, audience members asked for some guidance on how they and their communities can combat the instances of racism, sexism and bigotry that have come to light through this election in a productive, peaceful way. In response to these questions, Congressman Carson stated that this presidential election challenged us first to think of what it is to be an American. He also stressed the importance of being able to find and work from a common ground with those whom we disagree with, this is the best place to start both to work effectively with other members of Congress and with people in our communities who might hold different values than ourselves. He recognized that the next four years are going to be tough, but we, himself included, must be bolder and speak louder for our beliefs.
In the final closing remarks of the conference, Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak, world renowned South African anti-apartheid activist and protege of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, spoke about how we could take the conversations that had been had that weekend about social justice and human rights and carry them beyond the conference. Boesak further addressed how we can become agents of change in our own communities. In order to help make a change, we must leave a safe space for all of these things. We must share the pain that injustice causes with one another. Change is slow and sometimes tedious, but there is no more noble pursuit than the one for peace and justice for the human race.
By: Alyssa Szeto