Roses are Still Red

There is much to worry us in this time. But if we look upon the anger, the tumult, the struggles to live and more than that, the struggles to be free- we see a different color in this now dark world. We see fiery red. And red means love in our culture. It also means bravery. 

For many years, we have talked much about conflicts outside our nation.  But now the conflicts are not outside our borders, but within them. We have violence against black people and people of other colors different than “white.” And yet geneticists tell us that all Europeans have a very heavy dose of both Asian blood and African blood within them. When we assault and strangle our brothers and sisters of color – we are assaulting and strangling our own.

We bloat ourselves and dress ourselves with the work of other people’s dark sweat. We capture their children and trap them in grey cages.  We puff great black smoke and cinders and ash into our blue sky and blue waters. We all know this. And you reading this know this particularly. But we are struggling to make change. Many, many of us are trying. I know this of everyone who reads these blogs. We are calling out, writing, volunteering, marching, sending money, food, help. Still it goes on – the suffering and the brutalities and the deaths. 

I am a woman of faith. All faiths. And I have had my bad days. Yesterday was one of them. I sat down on my porch and watched the day fade with my sadness wrapped within it. But I awoke with messages of encouragement sent to me by loved ones. And I told myself, “There are days of discouragement. But I will not stop.” Like many of you, I say “No, I refuse to stop. Not until the work is done.”

I look out my window and I see in the garden, a red rose an artist conjured out of magic and admiration. And I am revived. Red in our country means love. It also means valor and bravery. As we live our lives and do what we can to end racism, corruption, sickness, pollution and violence, we need to periodically rest. And we need to contemplate the beautiful message of the red rose.

We need to consider the glory of past victories that overcame defeats. Through our infrequent rest time and contemplation, we will see our history and the history of other countries who made freedom from tyranny under flags of many different colors. 

We will see:

–  Slaves achieving their freedom, but struggling nobly ever since to gain justice and true equality. 

 – With our searching minds the generations of women leaders, steadfast in their calls for full citizenship and dignity.  

– And honor immigrants, who like our ancestors, came here hopeful for America’s ideals and then gave their great energy to make our nation better. 

Still, when we rest today, or any day, to take a moment thinking of our like-minded sisters and brothers, we know we can still make big changes that will change our world to good, for all.

Consider the red of my rose. In China, red symbolizes joy. In Nigeria, vitality. In Iran, good fortune. In my family’s past home in Italy, red symbolizes perseverance. In the US, we see it often as a color of courage. Today, as I look out my window onto my garden, I see that rose saying all these things to me. And because of these messages intertwined, I am inspired to carry on. And I hope, gentle reader, you will feel that inspiration, too.

Mary Ann Maggiore

Mary Ann Maggiore is a former Mayor of Fairfax elected on an environmental platform and founder of the Affordable Housing initiative and Youth Advisory there. At the same time Mary Ann served as the Executive Director of Girl Scouts Save the Bay serving 55,000 girls. Mary Ann's work has been honored by the CA Senate, CA Assembly, Working Solutions Community Innovator Award and the City of San Francisco. Today Mary Ann continues her commitment to youth as ED of LAUNCH!, Guiding Young People 18 to 30 to Meaningful Work.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Wendy

    Perspective is everything, and it can change in a flash.

  2. Mary Ann Maggiore

    You are so right. Thank you for commenting.

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