Most often, people congregate or segregate by being around people like themselves. In country clubs and jazz clubs, in churches and raves, in gangs and in internet chat rooms, most of us, most of the time, are hanging out with people because they have something in common with us. The idea of engaging with people who are different can feel scary and destabilizing. Even with all the talk about the glory of diversity, and even with all the ways that segregation has been shunned to the point of becoming a dirty word, most of us feel safer and more trusting with people like us.
The question is: how do we define “us”? Will we inherit without examination conventional divisions of race, class, gender and political perspective? Or will we allow our definition of “us” to grow wider? If we long to live into and help create a healthier, safer, and more sustainable world, we are not alone. If we are distressed by the course of things in our world today, and feel that something precious is being lost in our times, we are not alone. If we want to be motivated more by the dreams of our children than by the inherited fears of previous eras, if we want to not only survive but to thrive, if we want to make a difference with our lives, we are not alone. We are joined, in fact, by billions. Many of those billions do not look, talk, or think quite the same way that we do, but each could have something to contribute to the dreams we carry.