• Shawn Hosford


It is commonly understood that it often takes repetition to capture words or a truth that will resonate with us as we travel through our lives.

Several months back, my sister Blythe shared that she thinks I touch many lives with my spontaneous conversations. Then, when seeing a counselor about a dream that is been haunting me for 10 years, the counselor said something similar. Finally, I met Lucas on one of my walks in the woods and things fell quickly into place as a serene peace settled over my soul.

Being a big picture person, I often sit in a place of urgency. People say that my civil action is a calling or utter things like, “I don't like to do protests.” or “I don't have time for that.” Each time someone says or thinks that it is my responsibility or calling to take my white privilege to a civil action while they do other things my hearts breaks wide open.

I think it is everyone's responsibility to get actively involved in civil action, particularly during this time in our history. Civil action can take many shapes and sizes — regardless of how we engage, engagement is absolutely necessary.

Because of my attention to the big picture and sense of urgency, I have been underplaying and denying my seemingly small acts of engagement. The attention and attendance in big acts of engagement and civil action in Seattle have been underwhelming at best. I tend to show up for the environmental actions, ones that are standing up for the Salish Sea and it's creatures along with the actions dealing with oppression of and in support of brown or black peoples.

I missed the recent immigration action and thankfully I heard that it was well-attended. I only wish more people would sacrifice their time and treasures to civil action. I hear other city's have large attendance. Why not Seattle?

My meeting and conversation with Lucas in the woods shifted my perspective to ways of finding positivity in my Seattle actions. Maybe a city lulled to sleep needs more individual conversations as the people awaken.

As I continued my walk, I thought back on all the conversations I had that week with different individuals (known and unknown). I counted at least one per day. I carefully reviewed the conversations and their content. I was surprised by both their subject matter and their depth. I was thankful for the encounters and thought I might start a mental journal of these encounters as a way of finding hope in the mists of apathy.

I mentally thanked Lucas for his impact on my perspective. Should we run into each other again I will thank him in person. As for my sister, I thanked her the day of our conversation. I will write a note to counselor Jill about her part in helping me to see seemly small glimpses of hope for our future.

Unfortunately, small will continue to be small until more people take to the streets. There are so many attacks being mounted on our personal and communal freedoms — the very foundations of our country — that it is going to take many voices actively engaged to turn back the aggression.

Can you find a civil action or group with whom to align? Do you feel a sense of urgency about the state of our country or the world today? Do you feel that it's your responsibility to engage in big change? If each of us doesn’t, who will? How does positive change happen in the face of such challenges?