Who’s Next, What’s Next, Why? Published on December 18, 2012

It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community to sustain the village. This logic, this truth, goes on: it takes a nation to sustain a community and to raise a child. And finally it takes all of us, global citizens everywhere, to sustain the aspirations, the dreams and the hopes of all families.

No child should be subjected to the violence that was perpetrated in Newtown, CT, a community in PDF’s larger New England neighborhood. So we have a responsibility to respond, to raise our voice and to ask some of the questions that need to be asked.

I don’t know about you, but I feel the same horror and anguish when a drone blows up women and children at a wedding party as when I see the endless coverage of Newtown. Malala Yousufzai from Pakistan, Oscar Grant and all those children in Somalia, or Aurora, or… the killings of young men and young women on the streets of Oakland or Roxbury or Nairobi. Parents all feel the same grief. Relatives feel the same sorrow and nations feel the same wounds.

In each incident, we have to ask ourselves not only who’s next, what’s next and why, but we have to ask ourselves, what is our responsibility? How are we involved, and what can we do about it? We have allowed school programs to be gutted in the past thirty years; we have fought four major conflicts in the past twenty years; we have a virulent, right wing ideology which is not accepting of “others.”

It comes to all of us to recognize ourselves in grieving parents, in a shattered community, in the world we witness every day, watching as children pay and pay for a world we as adults can’t seem to get right.

Our universality is what is at stake.

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