Communities come together to heal

Americans face recent tragedies by helping neighbors

October 18, 2017

The faces of Americans dominating the news and social media recently have told a story. It is a story of grit and hope that is so deeply woven into the American identity that it is almost taken for granted.

Over a period of weeks, Americans experienced and watched events unfold that tore at the fabric of their lives. Out of those events, people have rediscovered what really matters — community.

American faces showed desperation as they cried for relief. Mud and muck gives a commonality to skin tone on those who arrange rescues from fast-moving water.

They shouted with fear as they seek to protect the ones around them even as they run for cover themselves.

They are white and scraggly, mingled with brown and bearded. They wear skull caps or prayer shawls. Designer clothes are just as dirty as the neighbors’ second-hand threads.

Barely a month ago, the hottest neighborhood buzz had passionate debates about who was going to win the Mayweather/McGregor boxing match. Fantasy football players had their teams picked and fans were hotly debating their favorite players against their opponents.

Social outlets such as Facebook and Twitter were full of people freely sharing their angry opinions without any regard to the human soul that would be affected.

Now they are desperate for survival. In an instant, their lives changed. Conversations now centered around who survived the night.

When the water is rising and it is still raining, citizenship status does not matter. All victims equally; no one stopped to ask to see proof before accepting a ride in a boat.

Bullets make people bleed and are indiscriminate in their victims. Those running for cover the day before may have been loud and vocal about gun rights.

Natural disasters such as hurricanes strip away the material stuff of life. They leave in their wake the bones of an infrastructure that is either healthy and capable of supporting the community or is just as shattered and broken as the people.

Mass shootings also strip away facades. Those with personal and political agendas use the events as examples to further their causes. The faces of the victims become trophies or targets, depending on the stand.

Behind those faces are human souls that have the same needs. The needs for clean water, food, shelter, feeling safe going to public even — these are basic necessities for life.

For a moment — political agendas, immigration status, social injustice — none of those mattered. For a moment, Americans showed the faces of who they really are. They came together united as one spirit to tackle what was in front of them.

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