by Thomas Sage Pederson

These are the views of Thomas Sage Pedersen, and are not the reflections of TWDCC and The Black health Matters Initiative.

The other day I was reading about the spiritual concept of oneness , the idea we are all one, the idea that we are connected with one another and are part of each other. That there really is not any separation between us as human beings. We are each unique and special but we are all parts of a while.  To me personally, I do believe in this idea. I do believe we are all one and that we are all connected. 

Here in Santa Cruz we have a lot of new age spiritual folks who believe in this idea of oneness.  Folks who believe that thinking of race is really dividing us as human beings, and that it goes against this idea of oneness. This came out more explicitly in the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 with the slogan “All Lives Matter”.

Unlike many other places in the United States this slogan was not just being thrown around by purely right wing activists and Trump supporters but rather members of this new age spiritual community here in Santa Cruz. People who believed that this focus on black lives was somehow taking away from all of humanity. 

I can understand the logic on the very surface level.  That an organization highlighting one race is promoting division by calling a movement one particular race. I can even agree that the movement is promoting us as a country to look at one race and observe what is going on with specific issues. So yes in a way this is a divisive movement.

That being said we need division to understand that racism in this country is not just coming from individuals but from government run agencies like the police, and the systems and ideologies that the police run their organization by. 

Even though racism is a man made concept that inherently is insane. Our country was founded on this insanity. Our systems of government, policing , media and education have the foundation of racist ideology.  As much as an individual wants to embrace the concept of oneness surrounded by a community that’s foundation was division does not make it true. 

If we want to truly embody this concept of oneness we have to as a society dismantle any forms of racism, otherism and bigiotry that is present in our community on a systemic and individual level.  This requires honesty and integrity when looking at the history of our country. 

There is no oneness if parts of our community continue to be victim to systemic and/or violent racist acts. WIth that being said, to truly practice the concept of oneness you first need to see the divisions that exist, highlight injustices that are happening and guide others to see the insanity we all live in, then we can experience this concept of oneness. We need as a collective to focus on healing these wounds that our collective has brought upon black folks in our community. WIth the Black Story Project- Santa Cruz County highlighting these experiences and stories shows that blackness is not a monolith and  can hopefully shed light on the shared humanity we all possess. 

Thank you all so much for reading this reflection on The Black Story Project- Santa Cruz County. These are just my opinions and reflections of my experience while conducting these discussions. I would love to hear from you! My email is feel free to email me anytime. 

Thank you,
Thomas Sage Pedersen

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