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OPINION: Dear Beloved — Someday We’ll All Be Free

by Chardonnay Beaver

Everyone lost to gun violence is someone’s beloved.  Beloved is a multi-media campaign exploring gun violence in-depth in four phases: The Problem of gun violence as a symptom of illness (or infection) caused by systemic inequality; The History of gun violence, root causes, and local and national data trends. The Solutions to end gun violence including King County Public Health’s regional approach to gun violence prevention and treatments; and finally, the ideation of a world without gun violence, The Beloved Community. The Beloved project is brought to you in partnership with Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Hope Corps program, King County’s Public Health team, Converge Media, Black Coffee Northwest, Toybox Consulting, Creative Justice, The Facts Newspaper, Forever Safe Spaces, Northwest African American Museum, Presidential Media, and the South Seattle Emerald.

Dear Beloved, 

Did you know that in 1973, American singer, songwriter, and musician Donny Hathaway released his album Extension of a Man? The second song on the album is titled “Someday We’ll All Be Free.” The hopeful lyrics and uplifting melody marked the song as a classic, and it was later referenced as an anthem for the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. 

Brighter days will soon be here, take it from me someday we’ll all be free. Just wait and see, someday we’ll all be free

According to Edward Howard, who wrote the song lyrics, “Someday We’ll All Be Free” was intended to be an anthem in support of Hathaway, who was coping with declining mental health.

“Donny was a very troubled person. I hoped that at some point he would be released from all that he was going through,” Howard said. “There was nothing I could do but write something that might be encouraging for him.” 

Similar to Howard, I write this letter to encourage you and tell you that freedom lies ahead for all of us. However, freedom will cost you your time and comfort. One way to embark on the path of freedom is by beginning to ask yourself critical questions. 

I believe the path to freedom will require us to reconcile with the unresolved. 

Some may adopt patterns of complacency that leave them feeling trapped. They become comfortable by situating themselves in their personal dissatisfaction and regret. This route doesn’t lead to freedom — rather, to self-destruction. 

On the contrary, some may fill their calendar with tasks to avoid self-awareness. Their accomplishments, goals, and duties begin to own them. They become trapped in a life of performance, rather than purpose. Thus, they are ineffective at treating others with care. Their social dynamic is fundamentally transactional, not relational. They look for “what’s next” because they’re trapped in a vicious cycle. They don’t see their value beyond their accomplishments. Contrary to our “hustle” work culture, this route also leads to self-destruction because it’s unsustainable and resistant to “true” fulfillment. 

Beloved, one of greatest violations we can commit is against ourselves. 

Freedom calls us to be courageous by sorting through our past failures with care and patience. Someday We’ll All Be Free is a journey that can start here.

Words of Wisdom by Char of the Week: Surrender to the promises of hope and freedom. Take the time to abandon the self-destructive patterns of complacency and performance that traps us. John 8:36

The South Seattle Emerald is committed to holding space for a variety of viewpoints within our community, with the understanding that differing perspectives do not negate mutual respect amongst community members.

The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the contributors on this website do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the Emerald or official policies of the Emerald.

Chardonnay Beaver is an influential speaker, storyteller, and writer for The Facts Newspaper. Chardonnay partakes in an undergraduate experience at University of Washington. In 2019, she established Words of Wisdom by Char (WOWbyChar): a platform designed to empower individuals in their pursuit of authenticity. To learn more, visit her website.

📸 Featured Image: Beloved logo courtesy of The Beloved Project.

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