Thursday, May 26, 2005

Mestizaje on Steroids

Tonight was an amazing night. I was invited to attend a meeting a few days ago by a guy who used to pastor a Willow type church, but now heads something called Planet Ventures. It is a very eclectic thing that seeks to bring together innovative leaders to address some our planet's most challenging issues. (something like that)

Well, at tonight's gathering, 25 folks, a mix of a few Anglos, a few Latinos, a few women, and a few folks from different Middle Eastern countries were all there to hear a young man (43) speak who has a very dynamic story, surviving domestic abuse as a young Mexican-American kid. Coming into this country and having to enter the dangerous school atmosphere where he was a minority- experiencing rejection, isolation, intimidation and humiliation because he did not fit in. He is now a successful business person who speaks to hundreds of youth in similar situations. Juan Ortiz did a fantastic job.

One of the reasons John Henderson reached out to me is their interest in expressing gratitude to the Latino community for their contributions to the USA. They are planning a Labor Day Fiesta to honor Latino workers, hoping to get businesses to invite their employees and also hoping to get some significant corporate sponsors. I'm just learning about this vision and project, but it sounds very exciting.

Also, Planet Ventures has a project going to promote bridge building between Israeli and Palestinian folks, thus the Middle eastern contingency. It was a very fascinating mix of people, (most followers of Christ) and all very interested in multi-culturalism.

At the end of our time, we had an opportunity to share a few words, and I thanked everyone for the chance to sit in, and then I shared how the theme of mestizaje has been brewing for me, and shared how it may be a different paradigm by which to address the issues of race and cultural diversity around the globe. Folks were very responsive and I pray we'll be able to keep learning from some of these new friends.

I was impressed with how easy it is to get wrapped up in our little corner of the world, and act as if all issues mestizo deal only with the needs of Latinos, where in fact, there is a desperate need for dialogue and transformation in conflicts all around our globe. Expanding the discussion of mestizaje beyond my usual framework has caused me to feel like it's mestizaje on steroids!

The mestizo world is literally coming to our doorsteps at this hour in history.


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