Earthrise + Collaboration: a Manifesto

Earthrise is a photograph taken from lunar orbit in 1968 by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders. As much as anything could go viral in 1968, this image left its mark on our national consciousness like many others that year, as noted by the Washington Post: "the South Vietnamese general pointing his pistol at the soldier's head, point blank; the busboy tending to Robert F. Kennedy's lifeless body; the civil rights activists on the motel balcony pointing in the direction of Martin Luther King Jr.'s killer." Yet, as the WaPo article goes on to remind us,  "'Earthrise' was something different."

“As I looked down at the Earth, which is about the size of your fist at arm’s length, I’m thinking this is not a very big place," recalled Anders. "Why can’t we get along? To me it was strange that we had worked and had come all the way to the moon to study the moon, and what we really discovered was the Earth.” 

 

At Higher Grounds, we honor the moment when humanity first saw itself from another orbit. We recommit our energies to care for the people who inhabit our planet as well as the planet itself. 

Global racial oppression, climate change, and Covid-19 make it absolutely urgent that we collaborate towards the systemic and personal change that is necessary to stop these collective existential threats. Our collaborations allow us to transcend the limits of our individual impact. Through these tumultuous times and beyond, we are inspired by Anders' words and by the Earthrise, a symbol of human resilience, collaboration, and the power of a global perspective.

Conquering racial injustice in the United States is the prerequisite for deconstructing systemic oppression in all forms, everywhere. As we look around at our world today, we see that those who struggle are leading. Higher Grounds aims to cultivate a learning environment with the means to transform ourselves and raise our children with compassion and a drive to confront greed, inequality, and oppression in all forms, wherever it may rear its wicked head.

Traverse City Black Lives Matter protest_image courtesy of the TC Record Eagle

Truly, it’s happening. Americans are standing up together, and in our hometown of Traverse City, we find ourselves resolute and even more energized after joining voices and hearts at last weekend's protest. June sixth is going down as the largest civil rights demonstration in history, with communities in all 50 states and 18 countries simultaneously saying enough is enough. Black Lives Matter.  

We look to the wisdom of all the community builders and luminaries leading the way. We hold present in our hearts and consciousness the teachings that came from the oppressed, beaten, and unjustly killed. They’ve shown us the path through their struggle and suffering with hardships and horrors we cannot fathom.

With intention, we evermore will work to:

* Deepen our commitment to compassion and justice by listening, learning and leaning in to confront systemic racism until it is dismantled.

* Build our mental strength and deepen our compassion, even in the most complex and frightening of moments.

Only then can we be walking faster down the path with those who provide us the wisdom and awareness through their unwavering commitment to an inclusive non-violent revolution based in love, strategies based on concrete impacts for justice and equality for all, and an unwavering vision of a future for everyone traveling through the galaxy together on Spaceship Earth.

How far we all will march together toward the horizon of a just, equitable, democratic world depends upon our own transformation as we confront that which we have reinforced and many times benefited from as it destroys the very fabric that binds us all together.

On behalf of ourselves and our families, for the leadership and non-violent struggle of so many, in the spirit of the Earthrise, thank you.