Saturday, March 5, 2022

If Only Putin would #ChooseConnection not Division

I am breaking my own rule and making a post that contains my political opinions, but it is so relevant to the message of RootsTech Connect 2022.

NOTE: These opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of FamilySearch International and RootsTech.

This year’s theme is #ChooseConnection. I was watching the news last night after the first day of this year’s RootsTech conference, and the contrast between that message and the current Ukrainian situation struck me so strongly. Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, stated

‘When we say “connection” we mean connection to people: our family and friends of today, our ancestors of the past, and connection to those who are strangers today but as we discover our common ancestors, our common homelands, they become close friends and even cousins of tomorrow. We mean connection to the world, including our homelands; connection to our culture, our heritage … We mean connection to principles. Principles of trust, love, faith, honesty and compassion. And most of all connection to each other, especially at this time when so much division is being thrust upon us.

This theme and the ideas and scripts were developed long before the current situation commenced, yet they couldn’t be more relevant right now. What is happening is horrifying and frightening.

Most of the world is united in its support of Ukraine and condemnation of Russia. None of us want this to continue. Volodymyr Zelenskyy begged Putin to talk to him face to face ‘I am your neighbour. I don’t bite.’ But still it continues.

Back in 2018 Rockwood talked about the theme of that RootsTech conference: “Connect. Belong”. He said that FamilySearch wants people to connect, because when we connect we treat each other differently. Connections can generate emotions, as with the discoveries LeVar Burton made in 2017 which brought him to tears.

If only Putin would agree to talk instead of attack, negotiate instead of sending missiles, #chooseconnection instead of division we could return to peace instead of standing on the brink of a disaster.

This is all very serious, I know, and it brings down the mood, but as with so many of the RootsTech conferences, the messages and themes resonate with me.

Back in 2017 when LeVar Burton spoke, he said that until he saw people like Diahann Carroll in the sitcom Julia, and Clarence Williams III in The Mod Squad, he had never before seen people like him starring on TV. That comment has come back to me many times since then. It was a perspective that I had never encountered before, though I should have realized it by myself. By making the connection I did when listening to his keynote I understood the world a little bit better from another point of view.

Whatever can bring that understanding can only help the world. Finding out about your ancestors and ancestral homelands – especially if that journey uncovers some surprises – can only help us connect with others and contribute to making the world a better place.

LeVar Burton after hearing about his family

NOTE: These opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of FamilySearch International and RootsTech.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes rules need to be broken as things do need to be said, messages need to be shared. Sadly this is one of those extraordinary times. #ChooseConnection