Z = Zone
The new or more recent way to aid people is to create a zone. We have parking zones to keep us from creating chaos with our vehicles. It works, for the most part. Then there is always that one individual who parks in their own private interpretation of their zone. Oh, well. We also have zones where we are warned not to trespass due to danger of one sort or another. Then there are quiet zones, such as in libraries and hospitals.
But these do not stand out, and are standardly accepted until some individuals see certain zones that they find offensive.
The zones I speak of now are safe zones. Safe zones are established to protect people, offer sanctuary. Who and why are safe zones offered? First the “who” offering these safe places. The “who” people are trained to offer sanctuary and respite without judgement or bias. They are people who actually care about other people and their safety and mental and physical well-being.
Second, the “why” of safe zones. Personally, before I retired from teaching at CSUB, a memo was sent out that those who wished, could receive training in offering safe zones and then have stickers and posters to post on their individual doors, signifying they were a safe zone. But that doesn’t tell you “why,” does it? The “why” is a sad revelation. It was because people were being harassed because of their sexual orientation, mainly. But there were less obvious reasons for needing a safe zone. It consisted of students and those threatened and harassed for being Different. And who objected? Those who wanted to bully, demean, even attack the people they deemed Different.
This is such an affront to our culture on so many levels. Here we were, on a campus of higher learning, having to offer safe zones for being Different! College and University campuses once offered education so that
Different ideas, different philosophies, different viewpoints and lifestyles could be accommodated, explored, discussed, understood. Some parents chose to steer their young people away from campuses known to foster critical thinking, opposing ideas, freedom of thought because they were afraid of what their potential “student” might learn—to THINK FOR THEMSELVES! And now? The appalling fact is now that these campuses of ‘higher learning” are simply one more institution where those who dare to think critically, dare to question, dare to put forth ideas opposed to the general populace are threatened! Sadly, often the ones who are to teach them to think either join the prescribed mode of thinking that should be allowed and ignore or shut down that which is “inappropriate” or “unacceptable.” So the “why” of safe zones is monumental in its implications and the depths it reaches into our society in general. It should also be noted that some faculty and staff who offered safe zones for those Different people/students, knew they would also receive subtle signs that their very act of helping or aiding the Different would put some of them on the fringes with their peers.
It is so very heartbreaking that the prejudice and bias of ignorance requires safe zones for what I would deem “Free-thinkers” and people brave enough to not fall under the societal pressure to conform. If enough people who claim the United States pledges …Liberty and freedom for all…
would stop mouthing it and start showing it in actions towards their fellow persons, there would be no need for safe zones. Churches USED TO OFFER SANCTUARY, but they got caught up in dogma and hell fire ideologies.
This is the last blog of the challenge. This is my last chance to speak my heart. We won’t need safe zones if we see people—not color, lifestyle, sex, or whatever the determining factors are that separate us into Us vs Them. Maybe we should foster that human goodness that says, “I will treat you as I want to be treated—with respect and the idea you have as much right to your life choices as I do. We will not harm each other as we both know we will suffer on all sides for that.” We have to get past hate and disparagement because of outside factors. See the person, hear the person, know the person. Then decide whether you want them in your life. Walk away, without harm or hate if you want to. Or pull them closer. But don’t look and judge without the knowing.
Until the hate and judgement cease, more and more of us will have to seek out safe zones. It is not something I care to do for what years I have left on this planet. I hope there are others who share this feeling so we can exude vibrations of Safe Zone to those we meet and deal with.