“To go fast, you must go alone. To go far, we must go together.” This African proverb captures the essence of community and connection on a very intimate level; yet, the question that still demands an answer is: How do we find a way to connect with each other when we live in such separate and divergent communities? How do we acknowledge and let go of the assumptions and stereotypes we have accumulated about those who are ethnically and culturally different from ourselves? How do we break the cycle of fear and distrust, so that we can come together authentically, both multi-culturally and in friendship?
These important issues must be openly discussed before we can truly come together at schools, as a community, and as a nation. There is no shortcut in the journey to create community and connection with those we do not know or understand. We each must take the time to walk each other home.
Lee Mun Wah is an internationally renowned documentary filmmaker, author, poet, Asian storyteller, educator, community therapist, and master diversity trainer. For more than 25 years he was a resource specialist and counselor in the San Francisco Unified School District. Lee Mun Wah is now Executive Director of Stirfry Seminars & Co.