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  • Writer's pictureShara Ashley Zeiger

Futile Connection and Why We Should Keep Rambling on Social Media

Being an actor means I feel a whole a lot. It's what makes me good at my job. I'm a bit empathic, meaning the feeling and energy of others affects me greatly. Being an actor means I also walk around a lot in other people's shoes, and I think I'm a better person for it. We live in a world right now where people don't want to walk in each other's shoes. People don't want to see each other. The whole country is in an isolationist movement right now, both sides of the political aisle. So what is the point?

I grew up outside of Philly. A few nights ago in Philly, Walter Wallace's family had called for an ambulance to get Wallace help with a mental health crisis for an ambulance to take him to the hospital to the psych ward.... not for police intervention. The police came, and he had a knife and wouldn't put it down (again he was having an episode and probably scared and paranoid and all sorts of things). He was mentally ill.... the police shot him and killed him.

This is why people say defund the police. They are not giving the proper training to deal with the mentally ill. Social workers are. That is their job. When people say defund the police, they want funds diverted to social workers and when someone needs help from a situation like this, the proper people are called. This is why people are protesting. This is why people are so angry.

A very old friend of mine, someone I knew since I was very little, who I then was in B'nai Brith Youth Organization with, (who has moved to Texas and drank some Kool Aid) posted last night disgusted about the looting. I tried to talk some sense into him, and tried completely respectfully. He didn't respond, but he blocked me. It made me so mad. I've known this person for over 30 years. Since when do we not engage in dialogue and "cancel" each other? He is also Jewish. We know better.

Society works when everyone in it agrees to a certain set of rules as to how society is supposed to work. When a group of people are shown that those rules don't apply to them, it is completely understandable (though not right...) that they break. Why should they abide by certain rules of society when the rules to keep them safe others don't adhere to? Who is there to protect them? This should enrage everyone.

Why are the police not trained to handle a crisis if they are the ones responding to them? Why are they shooting to kill, if they need to use their weapon and not shooting to disarm? We know the answer, and that answer should enrage everyone.

People tell me all the time Shara, just ignore people, but dialogue is so important. If we sit around and just ignore everyone we don't agree with, no one will ever come to understand anything. We'll all live in our own little bubbles of hatred and life will be terrible for anyone without a fortress. A long time ago when I was in BBYO (B'nai Brith Youth Organization), I was an International Chairwoman. I was the first ever Actively Concerned Teens Chair and worked on their new Enlighten America program, that included working with the Center for Public Policy on the Anti-Hate Prevention Act and getting the word out about it. This bill was set to put harsher punishments on hate crimes in an effort to curb them. The bill was eventually passed into law by Obama many years later. I've been an actor forever, but this stuff is in my DNA and I can't not say something.

I feel for the businesses who are innocent bystanders to this unrest, but it is a symptom to the problem, not the problem itself. We (everyone) need to keep attempting to engage in dialogue. It may feel futile, but if 1% listen that is a win. It's exhausting, and sure it might risk relationships, but this stuff is important. If I'm going to wish you a blanket happy birthday on your Facebook wall, then I should be able to have a hard conversation with you too. Jews proudly stood with our Black neighbors during the Civil RIghts Movement. We need to stand with them now, especially if we want them to stand with us when Anti-semitic attacks happen. Bigotry is not a pissing contest and if we are not all equal, then we are not all equal.

A lot of people are hurting and we need to step outside of our bubbles and walk in each other's shoes. Maybe everyone should be an actor?

"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me." ~ MARTIN NIEMÖLLER

Awesome Tools to Help Understand The Protests

Platforms to Engage in Dialogue Besides Facebook

Tools For Becoming An Actor

Tools for Stepping into Other Shoes

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