Here at Ellis DownHome, our mission and vision for this website revolves around connecting the people in the communities at which we live – through stories, lifestyle articles, and the events that join us together. Neighbors sharing life across the fence or over a cup of coffee. We want to bring you inspiring and uplifting content, no matter what is going on in our world. With that said, we also don’t want to shy away from the realities happening right in our own backyards, especially when it involves our neighbors.
I realize as I write this, that there are many differing opinions about the racial climate of our nation right now. Some would say that systematic racism isn’t even a real thing, while others protest and march to declare otherwise. There is so much that is dividing us right now, and I have to wonder what it really means and looks like to be a good neighbor.
Neighbors are more than the person who lives to your right and left, and for most of us, those geographical neighbors are most likely similar to us in race and socio-economic status. But what if our neighbors actually include anyone who we come in contact with on any given day? The people in front of us at the drive-thru, the person waiting to get their license renewed, or the tradesman coming to fix that stubborn leak. That would immediately increase the diversity in who a neighbor is to us. When scripture declares it’s second greatest commandment as “Love your neighbor as yourself,” it’s not just talking about the person sitting on the porch right next to yours. Even if you’re not religious, this is good advice to consider. The love – and respect – that we are to have for each other really ought to cross all boundaries that could be there.
This past weekend, hundreds of neighbors in Ellis County gathered together and marched alongside each other. I’m sure that each person had their reasons and motives for marching, but the significant point that was made was that it was done together, in solidarity. Specifically, that Black Lives Matter, black neighbors matter, and that all lives can’t matter until the black community actually matters in the eyes of all Americans. I feel that so much is lost, either in the silence or complacency of the white population, the violence we see in the media, and everything in between. The reality is, I can love my neighbor, no matter their race, background, or lifestyle, while also being deeply appreciative and honoring the amazing policemen who protect us. We are so quick, myself included, to get defensive and feel like we have to choose sides, but I believe that somewhere there is a middle-ground that we can land in – instead of being on one side or the other, that we can ALL be on the same side, that of humanity.
When we can see our fellow humans as our neighbors, we are getting somewhere. Is there a ton of work yet to do? Yes. Will it be difficult and uncomfortable? Yes, but it starts with how we view each other. So my challenge for all of us is to not get lost in all the noise of the news and social media and immediately jump on our respective sides, defenses blazing. Instead, let’s quiet ourselves, look within, and really evaluate how we see each other as neighbors. As fellow-humans.
Let’s start there, and see to what and where that leads us down the line. Putting those thoughts into action. And as a friend reminded me recently, actions always speak louder than words and good intentions. Let’s do better.
Let’s love our neighbors as we do ourselves.
– Ami Trull is the Content Manager for EllisDownHome.com – She is a 5th generation resident of Ellis County. She and her husband, Jay have two sons. Ami is also a photographer and graphic designer. She is passionate about telling the stories that matter most.
We are grateful for some of our local, Ellis County residents sharing their photos with us from the marches around the county. A huge thank you to Matt Morris (Midlothian), the Ennis Police Dept., FB pages Unity in the community of Ennis, Mykale Jeter, Ennis, TX – A Main St. City (Ennis), and Kirk Holt with KBEC Sports (Waxahachie).