The Reconcilliation Project
Introduction: Statement of Purpose
Working title: “Hands Across Water - Launching an Era of Reconciliation” Short title: “The Reconciliation Project”
Behind a stirring Afro-Pop opening drum beat Free Joseph dedicates his critically acclaimed song “Tell Me Why” to “the people of the world and all its inhabitants.” before launching into the iconic lead “We’ve got to learn to live together”
With these words the acclaimed Reggae and Jazz musician brings together the hopes, dreams and cultural traditions of every land and people on the planet: from the Lakota and Cheyenne - horseman and women of the American plains - to coal miners in West Virginia, Kentucky and Scotland, to fisherman of Cape Coast, Ghana and high-tech workers of the US East and West Coasts and worldwide; artists from Asia to Africa, from the Caribbean to the poles. It is also a clarion call to protect the other species that share the planet with us: two-legged, four-legged, and birds that fly.
Listen to "Tell Me Why" a song from the CD “He is Here”
There is no doubt that incivility, in nearly every corner of the world, has grown to alarming levels. Anti-democratic and autocratic impulses have led to a rising tide of corruption and threaten our ability to sustain what, until recently, had been a rising tide lifting all boats, albeit too slowly.
Furthermore, racial, ethnic, religious, and even regional intolerance and clashes threaten the fabric of communities everywhere and make it increasingly difficult to confront what in many cases are existential problems for humanity: a rapidly escalating climate emergency; poverty, and the savage disparity of wealth; and other long-term challenges.
These things do not reflect the real will of the people. The vast majority of people long to live their lives in peace and harmony with their neighbors and with other inhabitants of this “small blue planet”
The divisions reflect, instead, a dismantling of the social architecture that has led us toward a more peaceful and prosperous world: to the end of apartheid in South Africa, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany, peace in Northern Ireland, and a rising tide of democracy in Africa.
At the same time, it is increasingly clear that relying on governments, many of which have fallen into the hands of autocrats, is not going to lead us to reconciliation with fellow inhabitants of our imperiled planet. The changes we need will be driven largely from the bottom up by people who push back against the growing tide of intolerance and hate with tolerance, love, and reconciliation.
Many people and cultures, including indigenous nations like the Lakota, believe that we have entered into an era of maximum danger and opportunity. An era that may very well define the future of humanity and the hundreds of thousands of other species with whom we share this fragile planet.
There are many traditions - cultural, ethnic, religious, that share this notion, and it is spoken of in poetry and song - the choice between two roads diverging. All share this one common question: will we continue to divide or fight to unite?
With so many questions seeming to loom over the dialogs that characterize our ongoing efforts to unite with one another, it is reasonable to ask if we are not engaged in a premature effort that ignores the history and the pain that has led us to this point.
Our belief is that we need to create a countervailing force NOW, not later. In the words of several leaders over the ages: If not now, then when? If not us, then who?
Our hope, as a starting point, is to convince the people and government of Ghana to allow us to kick off an era of reconciliation with a concert and festival celebrating reconciliation and diversity of all kinds, racial, ideological, political, and economic in the city of Cape Coast. We have chosen this port city because it was a major departure point in the slave trade that played a profound role in the creation of divisions among people that continue to haunt us today.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Mead