Hashtags

I’ve worked two full days as the Senior Assistant Director at Northeastern’s Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service. Already I feel great- laughter is such a good feeling. At the same time, I feel pretty exhausted… there are so many little tasks to complete that I totally take for granted and they remind me to be more mindful. This morning I listened to Thich Nhat Hanh answer children’s questions about pain and was further reminded that the simple can be complicated.

Around noon I got a twitter notification that some of my friends were talking about WDBJ. Upon closer investigation, I learned that WDBJ is a television news station in Virginia, and that a former employee at the station had entered the set, shot and killed the two anchors while on the air, and shot himself.

“I hate guns”, I thought to myself. Then I said it out loud. “I hate guns. They scare me.” One of the students in our office replied, “I’m not afraid of guns, it’s the people that scare me. A weapon is nothing until someone uses it.”

I realized she was right. Arguments for or against gun control aside, I am grateful for this reminder that humans, individuals, are powerful. A few hours later, a friend of mine from USC named Vicki Chen did something simple, yet extraordinary. She started a hashtag. #WeStandWithWDBJ has spread all over Twitter and other social media sites. Vicki is a journalist and today she decided that she would take her own power, as an individual, and utilize it for good. Two incredible young women reminded me today that we, humans, do have power, and we must choose how we inevitably affect every other person in this world.

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