Connecting diverse communities to become reconciled.
THREE BASIC COMMUNITIES EXIST:
PASSIVE, FORCED, AND INTENTIONAL
The idea of community may have various meanings depending on an individual’s understanding. There are several layers of community as well, starting with one’s immediate circle of trusted loved ones and going as far as the global community. For the purpose of Rainbow Unbroken, we define community as any group (3 or more individuals) connected by location, beliefs, purpose, culture, profession, or any commonly shared bond. Regardless of the kind of connection, community remains a choice. We either choose to become involved (intentional), reluctantly stay involved (forced), or remain connected by name only (passive).
DIVERSITY AND CONFLICT
Consider all the variables of diversity among humanity: ethnicity, cultural background, sex and gender (male, female, other), sexual orientation, relationship status, height and weight, hair color and facial features, economic status, beliefs, religious preference, degree of education, likes and dislikes, abilities, health conditions, left or right handed, glasses or none – the list of variables could be endless if we identify every distinct trait a person could possibility carry. Unique traits are the essence of beauty and strength, especially if woven together to represent the diverse nature of being human.
If we fail to acknowledge diversity as beautiful strength, necessary for a healthy society, then we are more likely to exclude those different from the norm we have defined. Exclusion leads to conflict.
Reconciliation does not mean ignoring differences, losing sense of self, or denying one’s beliefs. To become reconciled depends on the ability to identify with someone on basis of being human, as opposed to considering someone with differences as “other” (see concept of otherness). Instead of compromising our values, reconciliation begins with identifying common ground. By continuing to discover points of agreement, diverse communities potentially earn trust and respect. “Other” no longer poses a threat. Taking the path of reconciliation produces compassion, mercy, patience, and understanding. “Other” becomes human. Once diverse communities identify with one another on the basis of being human with needs, wants, and desires, they are better equipped to negotiate differences in an equitable manner.