A Time for Empathy and Courage

If someone were to ask me, what time is it?
I won’t look at my watch, clock, or calendar.
Because time is best understood in the context of what is happening.

Without context, time is meaningless
6 am in winter, is a far cry from 6 am in summer!
Therefore, telling time is not enough without a backdrop.

In what times are we living today?
First I ‘d say, I wish I knew. If you press on,
I ‘d say we are living in pandemic times with people protesting unrestrained power

Strange as that may sound,
It does not convey or express enough of today ’s events
It does n’t tell us what is at stake or what the world is undergoing

Jobs, grief, pain, anger, history, lives, dignity,
Sanity, insanity, mortgages, furloughs, stocks, 401K
For this reason, we must strive to tell time in a way that reflects our times

Therefore, if someone were to ask you, what time is it?
Tell ‘em it is time for empathy, it is time for courage…
Courage to listen, speak, talk, walk, run, sprint, serve, hold each other accountable.

Back in April, I had the privilege of giving a
Commencement talk at Concordia University, Portland
In an empty auditorium, I called spoke about empathy and courage

I was supposed to speak to thousands of students and parents
And yes! my elder brother who spared no penny to put me through high school

Alas! My hero could not fly in from Africa
COVID 19 stole our joy with stone-cold hands
In an act of defiance, I said, you could steal my joy, but not my words

Little did I know,
That the words that I shared in April would resonate in
In May during the massive protests and in June with calls for justice.

I may not know the time
But I know you my friend would share this with someone
That we live in strange times that call for empathy and courage

Come with me to Concordia University

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