It’s always a good day when you’re learning new things. I was in a class today that was a real eye-opener. I got a LOT of great information, not only from the facilitators, but also from other people in the class.
As always, I was open and honest in group discussions and got a lot of great feedback, particularly from two very surprising individuals.
The first person I was paired up with just happened to be a Chicago police officer. He had a lot of great insight into multiple subjects. We even had an interesting conversation about immigration and how Cook County works with ICE – which is basically, they do nothing. If they get a request from ICE, they might hold the person for one day, but always turn them loose. Why? Well because of something I had completely forgotten about – Chicago is a sanctuary city. Goddess bless the immigrants!
Speaking of immigrants, the second insightful conversation I had was with a man who just happened to be a Palestinian Muslim. First off, the fact that he was Palestinian was fascinating to me because I have always been pro Palestinian rights in regards to re-establishing Palestine in some form. Secondly, when we had the opportunity to have a side discussion, we talked mostly about religion, and how different groups interact with one another. He and I definitely agreed on two things – many Christians say things and attribute them to the Bible without even reading the book – they just repeat what someone has told them the Bible says, which unfortunately leads to misconceptions regarding Islam and how Jesus is viewed (the fact that in Islam, Jesus is revered as a prophet). Secondly we agreed on the concept of there being more than one path to paradise – the religions of the world, in and of themselves, contain beautiful teachings. The problem is some of the followers who use religion to justify oppressing and even killing others.
Although these were not topics that were completely related to the class, they definitely enriched my experience and made me confident that if (for example) an Appalachian Pagan and a Palestinian Muslim can have a deep, civil conversation – then civility can be attained if you’re in the right mindset and are open to it.