It’s All About Love, Isn’t It?

by on January 21, 2014 · 8 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, History, San Diego

flickr.comBy Ernie McCray

Why is it so hard for people to love one another, especially when all it takes is a mere gesture, a smile, a gentle meeting of the eyes, a willingness to listen to our fellow human beings with an open heart?

We much too often blow easy opportunities to express our love. Like the situation in La Jolla with the organizers of the annual La Jolla Christmas Parade. They won’t even consider using an adjective other than Christmas in the name of the parade, knowing that such a giving gesture would make more people feel comfortable and at ease at the festive celebration, unburdened by their religious beliefs and life philosophies, having a good time in a spectacularly beautiful community called the “Jewel by the Sea. All it would take is a deletion of a word on a PC. Oh, if every social problem could be solved so easily.

But the La Jolla Parade Foundation folks want no part of promoting such goodwill and harmony. I mean the San Diego Human Relations Commission offered to provide mediation for all concerned and they said “No” to that without batting an eye.

That’s when I started to really pay attention because I value this commission. I know that each member, to the person, is dedicated to their mission of fostering mutual respect and understanding and promoting amicable relations among all members of the San Diego community. They’re in existence for the very purpose of helping us love each other. Shunning their help says to me that the people responsible for the La Jolla Christmas Parade really don’t want to make positive contributions to a city that more and more is becoming people and neighborhood oriented, more and more respectful of its diversity. They, instead, seem to have chosen to go against the grain of making our city better unashamedly, feet planted in opposition to notions of love.

That’s so sad. So disappointing. So counter to the work that’s been done for decades in San Diego around human relations issues – the work that began when my friend Carrol Waymon came to town in 1964 to run the City of San Diego’s first human relations agency, the CIC (Citizens Interracial Committee).

It was mostly about race then and I remember taking part in dialogues where people of all races, colors, and creeds sat down with city and governmental officials to bring a sense of urgency to the problems of race relations in the San Diego area and La Jolla very much included.

Because a number of people loved their city enough to want to change it, good things started happening. Soon covenants about who could and couldn’t live in certain areas of town were removed and La Jolla sure had its share of these hateful agreements – but no longer. That’s the beauty of people gathering together to show that they care. They can bring an end to uncivil practices.

More jobs opened up for people of color. We could eat in the major restaurants, try on clothes in department stores. Schools became integrated. The police practices in minority communities began being addressed.

A number of “firsts” appeared on the scene, first black school board member, first black city councilman, first Latino California Assemblyman – all rising from the dialogues, from people working to make our city responsive to all its citizens.

Now, the environment in which people worked on the city’s social problems wasn’t necessarily like a genteel tea party. It wasn’t all peaches and cream by any means. I recall some very spirited postering, to be polite, in the police department conversations, particularly. All the issues were addressed with deep passions. But these breakthroughs in our city’s history came about as a result of diverse groups of people working together in a spirit of love. Love is the glue for all great social work. The great movements of our times around equality and free speech and women rising and gays marrying et al were all inspired by the love in people’s natures.

And it would sure seem to me that when it comes to an event that’s held during the Christmas season there would be an element of love somewhere in the mix. However what we’ve got going in La Jolla seems to be based on some kind of angry “Christ is the Reason for the Season” stance. But wouldn’t making the La Jolla Parade (hmmm, that has a nice sound) friendly and inviting to everyone be a nice Christian thing to do? A loving act?

Well, alas, I can only hope the parade organizers begin to show the good side of their humanity and gift us with a vision of them coming around to appreciating and honoring our city’s diversity.

All it would take is a mere gesture (changing a word), a smile (to those whom they’ve made the gesture), a gentle meeting of the eyes (as the recipients of such kindness smile back), a willingness to listen with an open heart (to the next opportunity to make great social changes).

Love would win the day.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

DaJohn January 21, 2014 at 5:13 pm

“Christ is the Reason for the Season” I’m an atheist, but you would have to be pretty naive to believe otherwise.

Whats next, start calling dec 25th thanksgiving II on all federal calendars?

Aren’t there bigger fish to fry in the world of love? Semantics seems like the last thing we need to worry about when cities like Phoenix can find homes for all their homeless veterans.

BTW, Here is link to the 2013 CHRISTMAS parade on the on the OB main street Assn website.


Ernie McCray January 21, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Finding home for homeless veterans would be a very nice loving thing to do but why does that have to diminish the desires of people who would like a major parade in their community to be more inclusive? That’s a big fish to fry for them?


DaJohn January 21, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I’m sorry, I just don’t see using a religious event as cause for non-religous celebration as being exclusive. Plenty of people celebrate Christmas that are not christian in any way. I personally think it should be the last fish to fry. I’d rather live in a society where we can learn to respect and even celebrate other peoples cultures and religions as opposed to some grey PC world where different cultures are subjected to the will and censorship of the majority.


John Filthy January 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm

My neighborhood group had a holiday potluck. Much more inclusive. Words are powerful, it matters. People can wish each other merry Christmas just as well at a holiday party. My community is too diverse to ignore the fact that a good part of the world does not celebrate Christmas. Everyone celebrates winter. Why not make it simple? Christmas was a rip off from the pagans anyway. Jesus was born around July. For the pagans the big holiday was around thanksgiving/halloween anyway. If anything Obama should change Dec 25 to Halloween II. I hope you have a merry Second Halloween in 2014!


DaJohn January 21, 2014 at 7:31 pm

A neighborhood group sounds a little less inclusive than say a free parade down a public street. Where do I find information about joining your neighborhood group? I know I may not be from your neighborhood, but I’m sure you won’t discriminate.

Celebrate winter? I’m sure everyone who is getting hammered by a blizzard right now in the northeast would think you were batty.

Words are just words, actions are powerful dude. We can sit here and argue semantics on this blog and not one thing will change.


John Filthy January 22, 2014 at 7:25 am

Right. Pledge of Allegiance, constitution, the bible, loyalty oaths, that promise you made to your kid… Just words, whatever.

It isn’t about Hanukah and Kwanza. There are 100s of millions of people who don’t celebrate any of them. Christmas was a celebration of winter before it had anything to do with Christ. Time to stock up and get ready for the winter ahead.

Its $10/year or what you can pay to join my community group if you want, its Pub Night tonight so good time to join. But I live further north than the northeast . People do celebrate winter here. We get millions of visitors in mid-February for our winter festival.

The real Santa is Sami and just goes thru the front door with his sleigh on the snow. The flying sleigh is only something people who eat the mushrooms growing in reindeer poop see.


Susie January 22, 2014 at 3:28 am

The Entire article was meant to cause some drama, stir up some anxiety &
really was not necessary. We all know the truth re Christmas, so try not to create more
problems just because you want to appease yourself.

Merry Belated Christmas. Happy Holydays Happy Holidays
Happy Kwannza. Happy Hanaka. & whatever else
(don’t write me re my sp, it’s late!)


Goatskull January 22, 2014 at 8:39 am

Happy Festivus (for the rest of us).


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