I believe an essential step toward racial healing and reconciliation is the start of an honest conversation. Note that I said start; because there is no way we can overcome centuries of conflict on the issue of systemic racism through a single “drive-by” conversation. The weight of this issue requires full engagement toward change. Authentic conversations have the power to peel back the layers of hurt and pain in one’s life, to clear away the historical harm that has calcified through avoidance and neglect. I am not talking about speaking at or over one another, but truly listening with the goal of understanding each other’s perspectives.

We don’t share genuine and intentional communication enough in our society. People would rather dodge the subject of race at any cost. However, the failure to communicate is at the root of a significant portion of our perceived irreconcilable differences. We would rather live in our chamber of homogeneity with people of same thoughts and practices that don’t challenge our beliefs, than to venture into “the land of different.” But the truth is we miss out on enriching our lives and more concerning is that we limit our perspective of the world and our fellow man. We allow our ignorance to persist and create artificial buffers between humanity.

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