Supporting The Fig Tree spreads media literacy, nuances, solidarity
During Media Literacy Week, The Fig Tree launched its “Branching Out: Beyond 35 Years” campaign to raise extra gifts with a challenge grant of $17,000—doubling what donors give through Facebook, our website, by text and by mail.
For 35 years, The Fig Tree has promoted media literacy by doing it, by being an example of what responsible media can be and do. We also discuss media literacy so people will recognize propaganda, and see how sensation divides opinions, polarizing us so the power brokers gain more power.
The Fig Tree needs to do that relentlessly, to involve more young people so upcoming generations can better handle the social media of today and new media of tomorrow.
We share personal stories and lives. We explore justice and faith. We invite solidarity of everyone with immigrants and indigenous people, with people whose ancestors came in different eras, with everyone in their life struggles and transformations.
At an Oct. 23 Media Salon, sponsored by the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, participants asked what Civil Discourse means and, “Where is the middle?” After the discussion, that question lingers. What might “the middle” be in this polarized society, silenced and divided by political extremes that leave little room for reflection on the myriad of viewpoints and the multiple nuances we need to create solutions.
As I think of the many voices silenced, I think of how we term the extremes of thought as “black or white.” How does that divide skew our thinking about race and racism in the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-racial reality I encounter? We are each some skin tone on a spectrum of nuance even within our continental differentiations as European-, African-, Asian-, Latinx-, Pacific Islander-, Middle Eastern-, Native-American. Within those differentiations, we bring a rich diversity of skin colors, cultural heritages, ethnic assumptions, gender expectations and political opinions. Just look at the world.
Where is the middle? Does it exist? Even here we have a multi-colored, nuanced-toned, myriad-shaded tapestry of people, enriching or potentially enriching our lives with who they are, what they believe, how they think and what they value.
The word and understanding of “solidarity” entered my life from encounters with people from around the world—during six months of study in a global community and encounters with people at five assemblies of the World Council of Churches. It is appropriate to our lives as people of faith and justice seekers.
God’s love of each one of us, made in God’s image, gives us spiritual eyes to see each other so we walk together as one.
“I understand. I care. I respect you. I am with you. I will stick with you, because I, too, know suffering—perhaps different suffering, but I know suffering. You are not alone. I am and will remain with you.”
Solidarity assumes relationships of love and persistence for justice, strengthened by faith. Solidarity requires presence, being and coming together, standing together, speaking together to challenge the powers and principalities that oppress possibilities.
Solidarity is a strategy to overcome racism, poverty, militarism and environmental devastation together, with God’s help.
Mary Stamp – Editor
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, November, 2019