I turn on the morning news and my sense of well-being is smothered by the countless acts of violence that are reported daily…a harangue of horrendous behaviors has become the norm outnumbering acts of kindness by a landslide. Seventy year-old woman raped…15 year old girl jumped by a gang of boys and beaten…a five year old has disappeared and never been found.
Let’s not talk about war, violent conflicts where more than a thousand people have died in a year. “Rumors of war, and war” a reality…war in the Middle East…war in Africa…war in Europe…war in Asia.. Then there are deadly conflicts in the United States, China, and South America as well as the terroristic testing of missiles in North Korea. Will there ever be peace?
The news rains heavily in my heart, at times flooding my vision. Yet my spirit continually rises capturing that moment of harmony when the notes of life create a beauty that arises from ‘waging peace’ within my heart then sends messages of hope throughout my soul. I am one of those fortunate human beings born into a loving, nurturing family…a black family.
So I was emotionally secure in spite of racism and the many atrocities being committed against black people. I was emotionally secure in spite of the Cold War between Russia and the United States and all the ant-communist sentiment infiltrating every aspect of our lives. I was emotionally secure in spite of my mother having to raise my brother and I without a father figure.
I come from a family of teachers. Discussion of current events within the family circle was a norm for me growing up. Attending political rallies was a given. I remember the joy hearing Dr. King speak at the Oakland Auditorium in California as a child. I was restless listening to all the speakers but when Dr. King was introduced I was totally mesmerized by his sonorous melodious voice calling my child spirit to action.
I remember the joy as a teenager listening to Malcom X in 1961 at the local YMCA in Berkeley, CA. He had been banned from speaking at the University of California campus. I was truly captivated by his analytical dissection of the black man’s condition. He set my soul afire with a desire for a mindset change.
I remember with joy the Saturday morning picket lines ‘waging peace’ in front of Woolworth’s supporting the Sit-in movement started by students in Greensboro NC who were refused service at Woolworth’s lunch counter because they were black. I marched and sang across San Francisco demanding upfront jobs for the many invisible people living in the Bay Area. I marched into the Black is Beautiful self-awareness era developing my Afrocentric concepts and confidence.
The Vietnam War simultaneously loomed on the horizon. My brother and a few of my male friends were drafted and sent off to a war with no end. Some of the young men declared themselves conscientious objectors, others fled to Canada. The voices of protesters against the war grew stronger and stronger ‘waging peace’ at a war that had been going on for years.
Even when it ended there were no winners, no ticker tape parades for returning soldiers only PTSD with its ghoulish nightmares reaching from the war torn jungles of Vietnam down through the years constantly bombarding veterans with images of fallen comrades and the horrors of war. I thank God that my brother survived and that my friends survived as well and came home. History just repeats itself over and over again. Will we ever learn?
It’s amazing how many of us can still find joy in the midst of chaos and confusion despite the vicissitudes of life often times leaving us reeling. Yet our resilient spirits find gratification in births, birthday celebrations, education, graduations, weddings, jobs, retirement…and satisfaction in a life filled with storms yet well spent. Dates have relentlessly peeled off the calendar yet the condition of man remains the same.
The United States is a country at odds with itself and this internal turmoil has existed from its inception. Greed, racism, hatred, and war are never ending cycles in which good versus evil. Evil was and still is camouflaged by the cloak of Christianity which is the complete antithesis of the teachings of Jesus. The moral clock measuring tentative progress has been set back by the current administration enabling hate once more to demonstrate its draconian venom.
But the women have been ‘waging peace’ the last four years in January making their voices heard on high-waving the banner for justice for all, not only in Washington, DC, but with sympathy protests throughout this country, and in some places around the world…the beat of their feet marching through the streets…the beat of love, the beat of peace, the beat of tolerance, the beat of integrity, the beat of victory.
At 74 years young I am director of the House of Love Soup Kitchen/Pantry in Newark, NJ. We are a faith based organization addressing a basic need of people…food. It’s a travesty of fairness that in a country as wealthy as ours that there should be hungry people but unfortunately there are. We are ‘waging peace’ in our community by providing a place where people can come for a moment of solace in a nurturing environment, and receive delicious food, spiritual nourishment, and respite from the daily deluge of issues found in confronting the clutches poverty.
Justice battling hypocrisy and the loss of hope seeks to light the way through darkness and despair. A call for action ‘waging peace’ has been issued. Poets, writers let your words be music to the soul…let a collaboration of the arts march together raising banners of peace that will start to pierce hardened hearts. Let the atmosphere fill with tears then rain happiness into rivers overflowing with a new found gratitude.
Let the paint brushes splatter the sky with a brilliance of rainbow colors that sing of completion. Let the voices of humanity join together in a new song…the voices of unity shaking the foundation of being…heralding in a new beginning.
© 2020, Tamam Tracy Moncur
TAMAM TRACY MONCUR was born in Oakland, California. She attended elementary school in Oakland and attended middle and high school in Berkeley. She loves to write and has been doing so from the time she was a teenager. She was a civil rights activist in San Francisco prior to relocating to the East Coast. She met her husband, renowned jazz musician Grachan Moncur III in New York City. They were burned-out and relocated to Newark, NJ, her husband’s home. Six children were part of this union, and while having children she attended both Essex county College, and Rutgers University receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree and two certifications, one in Music Education and the other in Elementary Education. She taught for 25 years in the Newark Public School System.
Tamam in the past has worked with her husband arranging musical compositions and performing. In her spare time, she has self-published several poetry booklets, co-produced a CD of music and poetry, and collaborated with her family to produce a play that her mother wrote. She also has written a journal sharing one year of her teaching experiences in Newark, NJ entitled Diary of an Inner-City Teacher, a project quite close to her heart.
She retired from teaching in 2010, simultaneously receiving a scholarship to attend the International School for Restorative Practices located in Bethlehem, PA. She received her Master of Science Degree in Restorative Practices in 2014. Restorative Practices and Restorative Justice can change mindsets and transform lives.
Tamam has served as a restorative practitioner within the school setting and community settings. She’s currently director of the House of Love Soup Kitchen/Pantry, a faith-based organization that serves the community by either serving hot delicious meals and or giving out food boxes provided by the local food-bank. The environment is restorative and nurturing for people who are experiencing hardship because of trying times.and economic uncertainty.