December 13, 2018

Are You America?

The last time I wrote something for the Jewish Journal was the day after the election. I’ve had plenty to say, but felt that with all of the noise cluttering my life and inbox, it was best to take a rest.It’s a new year full of dreams, challenges and so…I’m Back and, I am anxious as all heck about what our new President’s term in office might bring.

Mr. Trump represents a world view that is worlds apart from mine. Nonetheless, he is now my president and the leader of the most powerful country in the world.

For nearly four years, I have committed with all my sweat, heart and soul to create the multi faith and cultural Pico Union Project. Never before have I felt our mission ‘to love your neighbors as you wish to be loved’ to be more important. While millions of Americans are excited about the new president, our neighbors in the Pico Union are frightened that the new administration policies might tear their families apart.

America must be built on justice and equality for all of America. We cannot afford to be complacent, point fingers or demonize one other. America is what we make it, the blue states and red states, the rich and poor, day laborers and factory workers, LGBTQ, conservatives, progressives, Asians, Latinos, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Jews.

“In a time when some call evil “power” and some see hatred as “honor”, it was important for me to remember that I too get to say what I see; I too get to define this “America” that we are living”  – Jason Chu

With all this running through my head I decided to go back to my musical roots and together with contributions from some incredible artists and musicians create our video statement I am America. (click to watch) The message crafted alongside my collegues Stuart K Robinson and Jason Chu was simple, I am America – and so are you. Each one of us defines America by our respect for others, our kindness towards others, and our work to ensure liberty, justice, and equality for all. 

“I am America is especially pivotal in today’s political climate. As a black man, the surest path for me to avoid being marginalized is by agreeing to recognize every point of view as an equal part of America.”        – Stuart K Robinson

What makes America great is the premise that no one can define America for you – we must each do the work to support our journey towards a more perfect union. May God bless America, all those in pain and in need of healing – and while I am feeling the love, may God please bless our new president, my gut tells me he'll need it.