It’s been two weeks since our gathering at the 2014 JPIC US Federation Meeting. I must say that the stillness that comes after a huge event like that is quite refreshing. However, sentiments of sadness also spring forth as memories of the new friendships formed, laughter shared, and stories exchanged also resurface. I am so blessed with all of this and look forward to sharing this with all of you bloggers!
So what does “GLOCAL” have to do with it?
All of us who attended the JPIC meeting have adopted this oddly intriguing word from Carol Zinn who adopted it from the United Nations.
GLOCAL= Global + Local
This mathematical function of addition is used to concretely explain how “glocal” is the sum of two separate words, “global” and “local”. The concept of addition is one that is not foreign to any of us. We have been taught since grade school to understand how two separate numbers, even those of vast difference, have the ability to be combined– directly affecting one another, and resulting in a sum that represents the combination of the original numbers. After no longer standing as separate integers, one cannot recognize solely from the new sum the distinct differences of the original two numbers.
Say for example if someone simply said to you, “the sum of two numbers is 10.” You would have no idea what those two numbers were because they could be a combination of many [two] numbers. i.e. 5+5, 9+1, 4+6….etc.
I was chemistry major and a mathematics lover so bear with me.
Why do I bring the logic of addition-based math into this? As simple as we know basic addition to be, we [as a society] have difficulty sometimes applying this theory and practice to our own lives, to our own worldviews, to our own practices….How so?
It seems that today we are obsessed with the idea of “what is mine is mine” and “what is yours is yours”. It seems that we are more interested in what makes “you and me” “different”, instead of what makes “you and me” the “same”. It seems that today our headlines are focused on “borders and barriers” and “us vs. them”. It seems that more and more we are only concerned with what is happening “locally” because it is here and “globally”, well that is “over there”. It seems that since the fall of the Berlin Wall, we still continue to build barriers that exclude everyone…everyone but ourselves.
We are more disconnected. More dis-concerned. And more unable and unwilling to see that like the simple logic of the addition of two numbers, WE [all] directly affect one another. Locally and globally. Here and there. Both us AND them. We, like combined integers [even those of vast difference], directly affect one another. We depend on the other to create a sum [a world] that when standing alone [or in our case when looked at as a whole], cannot tell what two numbers [or persons/things] create it.
I guess what I’m getting at and what Carol reflected on for those few days at the meeting, is that there is no “global” and “local” as two separate entities. There is no “us vs. them”. There is no “here” and “over there”. There are no “borders and barriers” that make us separate, different, or less or more than the other.
There isn’t ANY of this; because at the end of the day, we are one in the same. We are all human beings who attain the natural beauty of diversity. But what is not natural to us is the ugliness created by division. Yet, we move toward this…
We yearn for a more peaceful world. Yet, we are resistant to feeling anything for those who suffer in Syria, West Africa, and Ukraine among many other desolated countries. We are so quick to look at issues of poverty, hunger, gender inequality, racism, and disease as “global” issues affecting “other” nations. However, the reality is that these issues are present in our own lives and we play a role locally–contributing to these problems by our actions and through our silence.
Carol reminded all of us that what we do or do not do locally affects [all] globally. She reminded us that there is no separation between the two. She reminded us that we are all connected to one another, to the earth, and to the universe. Although it takes much time for all these dots to connect, for all the “simple” math-based logic to make sense, we have the ability to create this GLOCAL world. We have the ability to create the kind of world we all want– one with equality for all, one with justice for all, and one with peace.
Thanks for sticking with me until the end of the blog!
Jackie, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant
More pictures from the JPIC Meeting! Enjoy!