The CrossRoads retreats, the juniors of Sacred Heart attend, teach them this understanding by allowing the students to meet marginalized and stereotyped people in our own city. They meet immigrants, refugees, homeless, elderly, and recovering addicts. They have the chance to see through the stereotypes and realize there is no “us vs. me” everyone is “us”! Peace and harmony can only come from love, understanding, and relationships. Diversity is pushed in several areas of our society but many people don’t realize the reason. When you meet people of other nationalities, race, belief systems, economic status, etc. you see the similarities. When we polarize people because we have never encountered them and believe what certain self-seeking politicians say, then the fear and hate begins. We fear what we cannot understand.
The more people we know, the less we fear. The less we fear the more we love. If we build new relationships based on empathy, understanding, and friendship then bridges can be built for all of society. The more relationships, the less violence. Think about your everyday life. How often do you encounter people who are different from you? Consider making friends with someone outside of your normal friend group. Volunteer somewhere that is diverse. Find ways to eliminate the isolating mentality and you will break down the barriers that is holding our culture hostage in fear.
We need to build bridges not WALLS!