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We Share Spaces

125. We Share Spaces

In 1981 I wrote a piece that was published by the Ecumenical Women’s Center in Chicago. It was titled “We Share Spaces.” The concept is that it’s important to be very aware of the space I am in, because it is possible that as I abhor where another person or group is, in my struggle to oppose that position, I myself move over there and adopt the same hateful tactics, and in that moment I share that space.

One of the examples I often give is: 1) I disapprove mightily of the Ku Klux Klan; 2) I struggle against them; 3) if I’m not careful about the ways in which I oppose them, I may find that I adopt some of their tactics, and 4) I become the Klan.

Another example I have sometimes talked about is that in the 60’s when I lived in Nashville, a friend of mine was going to march at Selma. He asked me if I wanted to go and I said I didn’t. I gave excuses of I had small children, I needed to stay at home, but the truth was that I was scared and at that time in my life could not do it. That was the space I was in. Later in 1968 after the death of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, I did go to the March on Washington. I was still fearful but I went because I chose to go with my fear rather than make the decision again to not go. I had moved to a different space.

AND in years since then, it has helped me recognize that I can’t demand that everyone be in the same space where I stand. We all have times of moving and change and my friend who asked me to go to Selma, didn’t land all over me for not going. Likewise I need to not insist that everyone be where I am I can stand where I need to stand. I can invite others to join me. Period.

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