It has happened again. Several days ago, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists held two rallies in Orlando, Florida where they shouted horrific anti-Semitic slogans at passerby. On August 12, 2017, they marched in my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia where Heather Heyer, a young woman peacefully marching to protest their presence was killed. Donald Trump, then president said there were “good people” on both sides. On January 6, 2021, Proud Boys and other similar groups were involved in the seige on the U.S. Capital.
This is race-based hatred. Further, these are only a few of the examples of this will to oppression that has escalated in the United States in the past 6 years.
It is not just Jews that these groups target. It is Blacks and other non-Whites, including immigrants from Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.
My heart breaks for my country and the world.
This legacy of hatred and the will to genocide has been a terrible part of human history for centuries. There was the holocaust of the Native peoples of the Americas that started over 500 years ago and in which it is estimated that 100,000,000 were killed by guns, germs and steel over just 3 centuries. Abuses, discrimination and theft of their lands is still ongoing.
As recently as only 20 years ago in the U.S. and Canada, Indian children were being taken from their families and tribes and put into boarding schools. In Peru (only one nation in South America with insidious policies and campaigns targeting non-Eruopeans), indigenous children are still being put into schools run by the government and the Roman Catholic Church. They are being told that to be indigenous is “stupid,” “ignorant” and lesser than.
Let’s look at a shortlist (and this is incomplete) at some well known and lesser known genocides in the 20th and 21st centuries both past and present:
Uyghur Genocide by the Chinese (2015-present): Numbers increasing of killed and those put in concentration camps, subject to forced “reeducation,” sterilization, and other gruesome policies of cultural and human destruction
Darfur Genocide (2003): 500,000 highest estimate killed
Guatamalen Genocide (1962-1996): 40% of the Maya in Ixil and Rabinal regions
Cambodian Genocide (1975-1979): 99% of Cambodian Viets, 50% of Cambodian Chinese and Cham, 40% of Cambodian Lao and Thai, 23% of Urban Khmer, 15% of rural Khmer
Rwandan Genocide (1994): 60-70% of Tutus
The Holocaust (1941-1945): around 2/3rds of the Jewish population of Europe
Armenian Genocide (1915-1922): 90% of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire
Greek Genocide (1914-1922): 25% or more of Greeks in Anatolia, Turkey
And many more….
I have not included in this list the genocide that was involved in the translatlanic slave trade, both in Africa and then on the grounds of the United States and then in the grisly brutality of Reconstruction in the South.
Are you horrified yet? Have you calculated the number of human lives that have been taken just in the campaigns of hatred mentioned here? How many survivors—family and community members and friends affected? How many generations of children, grandchildren and on who have carried the imprints of trauma?
Genocide and hatred are a spiritual issue that demands a response through sacred activism.
It is high time that we face this head-on with all of the tools that we have available to us. It must stop.
True spirituality demands that we joyfully embrace the vast diversity of human expression—cultural, racial, religious, gender, sexuality, and on. We must care about the wellbeing of other human beings even as we care about our own. Compassion for human suffering and a desire to help must be our guiding light.
Yes, these guiding principles and the practices that keep these fires of spirit burning within us are important.
But sacred activism is more than this. “Active” is the key word. On a personal level, we must seek to be well-informed about the interconnectedness of the causes and conditions that lead to hatred and the will to genocide. I am an academic. I believe in education, whether you gain it through self-study or by going to school.
Seek to be informed. Humbly recognize your ignorance.
For instance, up to half the U.S. population decries the numbers of immigrants and refugees pouring over the southern border of the U.S. (all the while labeling them as rapists, murders and thieves). Do you understand how American economic and political policies towards Central and South America have contributed to environmental degradation, poverty, food scarcity, and the installment of brutal dictatorships?
Do you know that Monsanto, in collusion with the Columbian government sent armed militia and tractors out to force the native peoples to pile up their bags of ancestral seeds and burn them? And that then required them to purchase GMO corn? At gunpoint? Even if it meant them going into debt which they could never pay off, thus leaving them enslaved and impoverished?
Are you aware of the history of slavery, Reconstruction and Jim Crow and how southerners used the same methods being implement as we speak to disenfranchise Black voters?
This is all Mind of Domination fueled by fear and emotional disregulation that is a trademark of transgenerational trauma from violence of all kinds going back centuries—even millennia.
Yes, sacred activism includes understanding these stories and accepting our responsibility individually and collectively to address them.
Yes, we must learn about human psychology its connection to Mind of Domination.
Yes, we must provide refuge and support to those who are fleeing for their lives and trying to achieve greater economic prosperity for themselves and their families.
Yes, sacred activism includes understanding the truth of the history of the U.S. and other nations and speaking up about how hatred and discrimination are fueling current movements that are leading to or currently enacting genocide.
Yes, we must also pray, do ceremony and energy healing because, ultimately, we must transform human consciousness. Transforming human consciousness into peace is spiritual.
Everything counts. Everything is sacred.
I challenge you to listen to your broken heart, to care and to act.
Rachel Mann, PhD is a sacred activist, social scientist, healer, and spiritual mentor. She is founder of the movement called Sacred Activism for Peacemaking and Ending Violence. She provides an intensive 1-1 Mentoring Program and courses and retreats supporting passionate individuals with a vision to integrate the wisdom gained through their own healing and spiritual study into creative service to others as a healer/therapist, spiritual teacher, writer, artist, and/or social entrepreneur. Through on-demand courses and trainings, she provides businesses, universities, NGOs and non-profits wishing to anchor into with the sacred values of positive inclusion, compassion and a renewed, spiritual ethics. She is currently a member of the faculty of Atlantic University in the MA programs for Transpersonal Psychology and Mindful Leadership. Find out more at rachelmannphd.com.