What are some practical ways we can live into our interdependence? King encourages us to shift to a people-oriented society instead of a thing-oriented society. A people-oriented society focuses on cultivating deep relationships, trust and belonging instead of surface, transactional relationships. There is an abundance of gifts and talents in our community that can be leveraged to make the unjust systems obsolete, but our lack of relationship leaves them dormant and underutilized. As we deepen our relationships, the trust generated increases our impact through greater cooperation and collaboration.
I want to focus on cultivating a beloved community mindset because how we perceive ourselves is the context that informs and shapes how we interact with each other. The more we understand our interdependence and interconnectedness, the more we develop our hearts towards empathy for one another and grow the heart of our community. Dr. King ask us “Where do we go from here? Chaos or Community.” As humanity stands at the crossroads, those who choose the path of community are now being called to commit to a deeper walk with humanity.
Each year, many of us join hands and sing “We shall overcome.” Yet, is this the future that we pursue in our day-to-day interactions? What are the underlying assumptions that shape the Miami Valley? Do these assumptions align with and honor our values and aspirations?
May we harness our self-determination and the fierce urgency of now towards pressing into our collective hope of a more beloved community instead of maintaining the status quo. We are the ones we been waiting for.
Amaha Sellassie is an assistant professor of sociology and the president of the Gem City Market Board of Directors.