Over the past few years, I have tried to make #HayOtraFroma trend on social media. This hashtag is so relevant to me because it literally means that there is another way. In my professional and personal circles, we wholeheartedly believe that there is another way to do our work, care about this planet and live and fight for just communities and sustainable societies. We believe in loving our communities and healing from historical traumas. We believe in the power of speaking our truth. We know that #HayOtraForma.
I entered the new year with hopes of resolutions and change—both for myself and for the world. I hoped that this year would bring a bit of respite from the onslaught and offense that our current political climate constantly hurls. Yet, we are faced with the reality of our current discourse which does not aim to move us to another way, but to move us back to a time of fantasized greatness and forward into a day that democratic principles and institutions are but a distant memory. We are no longer in a time of innuendo or hidden slight, but faced with an ever-growing insult to our psyches and a silence so deafening that—though it should stop us in our tracks—it does not surprise many of us. To this we welcome 2018 and, yes, I say more than ever there must be another way: #HayOtraForma.
As I sat with my 92-year-old grandmother this weekend, I realized it is she who teaches me that there is another way forward. Born a few decades after the United States colonized Puerto Rico, her life and stories of struggle and triumph make me hopeful. Her stories are of a feminism that is simply lived and not necessarily broadcasted. Her vocal reaction to the cruelty against our communities reminds me that we must create another way and invoke poet Nikki Giovanni’s words when we say to this moment: “…your desires will not be honored this season.”
We at the Andrus Family Fund understand that change is gradual and movements take time to cultivate. What does it look like when we really practice Dr. King’s philosophy to “develop and maintain the capacity to forgive?” Can we embed those beliefs and actions in public policy instead of hateful and punitive laws that continue to target certain groups and give no sense of hope?
Over the past few months, I have had the honor and privilege of speaking to individuals—through our latest podcast series—who know that “something else is possible.” Recent guests on our Out Of The Margins podcast have included Executive Directors of two incredible organizations: Jody Kent Lavy of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth and Danielle Sered of Common Justice. We concluded the series with an emotional conversation with Xavier McElreth Bey. A fierce advocate for ending juvenile life without parole and harsh sentences for young people, Xavier exemplifies what is possible when we deeply believe, see, and practice #HayOtraForma.