What I know for sure, by Andrea W. Doray

President’s Corner:

What I know for sure

by Andrea W. Doray

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere’s a line in “Brilliant Disguise,” a song by U.S. rock music artist Bruce Springsteen, that goes: “God have mercy on the man who doubts what he’s sure of.” This poignant verse has always rung true for me, and in the current world of gaslighting and alternative facts by the American president and his administration, and by despots around the world, I have found myself pondering more and more often what it is that I am truly sure of.

And here is what I know for sure:

The brightest lights in any city are in the hospital emergency room. Whether you are there seeking help (as I have been numerous times after mountain biking accidents), or are there with others who need help, the light is unrelenting. The glare from metal doors and instruments bounces off fluorescent bulbs, white walls and white floors. Night and day are one and they both have hard, well-lit edges, softened only by the voices and faces and hands of those who ultimately provide that help.

Contrast this with dust and gas filled rooms of the makeshift hospitals in Syria, where people – having been poisoned by their own government – are seeking help, only to find themselves again victims of bombs and terror. We, as writers and peaceful activists, need to shine a light – a very bright light – on these war crimes and demand action from the international community.

My parents left me with too many questions. I was so lucky to have my parents for as long as I did, into my late 40s and early 50s. The world was a better place for their having been here. But … I wish I had asked more. About their military experiences – both served in the Army in World War II, my dad in Europe and North Africa, and my mom in the Philippines and New Guinea. About the details of their young lives, his in Louisville, Kentucky, and hers in Chicago. I wish I had learned more about their parents, and their parents. I wish I had asked more, and then listened more.

By listening more, all of us, and learning from history, we can help prevent the travesties of the past, prevent the descent into fascism, xenophobia, and authoritarian rule, and the exploitation of women and children around the globe. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past, but continue to point out the danger of demonizing and isolating ethnicities, religions, gender identities, and class.

Everybody needs a GoPro camera. I’m convinced that each of us rides a different path and that it would be extraordinarily instructive if we could actually experience one another’s. I’d like a GoPro on my mountain biking helmet and on my rock-climbing helmet so I could take others with me, so people would understand the hows and the whys of each decision I make on a challenging trail or a slippery slope.

And perhaps more importantly, people with different perspectives could share their journeys with me, and I could begin to understand their hows and their whys. Understanding puts us all on the path to empathy and conflict resolution.

Human rights are the rights of all humans. All humans, equally, without regard to class or social status, no matter our gender or race, or who we worship or who we love. And I know this to be true: There is grave danger in abridging these rights. Too many people have fought – and continue to fight – too hard for too long, around the globe, for the rest of us to simply stand by and watch.

Now is the time for vision, voice, and vigilance. For asking and listening. For appreciating what we have and fighting against its loss. For looking through others’ lenses and for sharing our own. Now is the time.

This is what I know for sure.

Andrea W. Doray is an award-winning journalist, author, poet, and essayist in Denver, CO, and is a columnist for The Denver Post through their Colorado Voices panel. Her weekly opinion column, Alchemy, which appears in Colorado Community Media newspapers, has received a first-place award from the Colorado Press Association.Learn more about Andrea and her work here.

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A Deep Loss for Our Community

Hazel Krantz, Writing for Peace Advisor

Hazel Krantz
(1920 – 2017)

Longtime board member and young writer advocate Hazel Krantz passed away the evening of April 5th. We extend our deepest condolences to Hazel’s family and friends. She will be deeply missed.

Hazel Newman grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y. She married Michael Krantz and they moved to Long Island. In 1982 they came to Fort Collins, Colorado.

Hazel Krantz was the author of ten books, primarily young adult fiction.  She was a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Hazel’s career combined writing and teaching.  After receiving a degree in journalism from NYU, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Hofstra University. For a time, she worked for New York buying offices, planning the advertising for member stores.  When her children started school, she taught elementary school in Nassau County for twelve years.

Returning to editorial work, she was full charge editor of New Frontier magazine, and then joined the editorial staff for The Sound Engineering Magazine. Until recently, Hazel still actively wrote, enjoyed weaving, participating in interfaith and peace organizations, and loved spending time with her dog Willie, adopted from the local humane society. She especially loved working with young writers through Writing for Peace.

Editor-in-Chief Elissa Tivona interviewed Hazel in the latest Peace Correspondent. You can read that wonderful interview here.

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