Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama, is the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Photographed during his visit in Cologno Monzese MI, Italy, on december 8th, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I saw the Dalai Lama the other day. Apparently, he is on a college tour and is collecting hats from around the nation (I can joke because he does too). I wish I could say it was a life-changing experience, but I did not feel any more enlightened after the two hours in which he spoke. However, I did resonate with the words he spoke.
The first part was a speech about compassion; the second part was a question and answer session. During the Q&A session someone asked about how to reconcile or get along with other religions. In his adequate English he talked about how India is as much a melting pot of religions as America, but that India is more a model to the world of how to coexist with thy neighbor. He emphasized that one should keep to the religious framework in which one grew up, as drastically changing our belief system could cause all sorts of confusion (or Confucian, were we to take the pun route).
His answers brought me to my happy thought: a peaceful coexistence of diversity and individuality. My dream is much like the Dalai Lama’s dream. I dream of a world where Pakistanis, Sikhs, Native Americans, and any others who religiously avoid cutting long hair can coexist in corporate America without any sort of harassment or frustration caused from having to repeat oneself and having to answer the same ignorant questions. Just if it was not clear in the beginning, fashion freedom is tied to all other sorts of human rights issues. In this situation, fashion freedom is intricately tied to religious freedom, one of the freedoms on which this country founded.
You might have heard about the shooting in the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI. Many Americans are still ignorant about the Sikh culture in general. One of the many things Lavoce can do is open your mind to the Sikh culture and Sikhs in general. You can learn more about the turban, that one article of clothing that makes them eligible to be covered were “fashion” included in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It is clear that we have a long way to go in opening people’s minds. Let’s start now.
Though it is an extreme case, Lavoce ambassadors are like the police officer who sacrificed his life for his fellow men. If people are too afraid to raise their hands to ask something in a classroom or webinar or are too afraid to return an RSVP to give the news that they will not be able to attend an event, imagine how many more are too afraid to stand up for their fellow citizens?
I wanted to address the white elephant in the room here as there is talk about music influence, similar to the talk surrounding the Columbine incident in the ’90s. Sure, it gave people a bad impression of the Goth culture since the shooters wore black trench coats, but time and again it was proven that the shooters were not Goths, and Goths cannot all be lumped under the category of “wears black.” Do you really think Goths would let an incident that happened in the ’90s affect an entire culture that started in the ’70s. If that is what people think, then they have another thing coming. It is all the more reason to be role models, to be twice as much as our “normal” counterparts. When Cho killed students in Virginia Tech, Koreans all over the world didn’t hide or look for cover just because a bad seed happened to be from Korea. Likewise, people in the military and veterans will not hide because the shooter happened to be from the Army. It’s true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, just think back to your school days, but it should not be that way. This is why the new Goth, Lavoce ambassadors, should take part in giving and receiving recognition, so that no good deeds goes unrewarded and so that the good guys don’t finish last. Goodness prevails always. As sung in the musical, Wicked, “No one mourns the wicked.”