The California branch of the Initiative has been around since August of 2011. Since that time, we’ve had the opportunity to meet a large portion of activists throughout the United States, both in and out of costume. (In fact, Rock and I currently hold the record for having met the most RLSH, and we plan to meet more on our upcoming Superhero Nation road trip.) Each of them has put their own, unique spin on the work they do, whether or not they consider themselves real-life superheroes. Because they are all human beings, each has their own idea of “right” and “wrong,” so naturally, this leads to differences of opinion, disagreements, quarreling, and in some cases, outright contempt.
We have had our own differences of opinion with a few members of the RLSH community, and in some cases, it’s been decided that these differences are too great for us to continue our mutual association. Which is fine, so long as the split is amiable. Unfortunately, a few of these individuals have chosen not to come to us first and talk about their issues, and instead have taken to social media to blast us in public, sometimes with wildly inaccurate accusations.
This is not to say that members of the ][ haven’t had their moments of online venting. We all grow weary of feeling as though we are fighting the same fight, over and over, like Bill Murray in ‘Groundhog Day,’ but we try to keep it to a minimum. It can feel gratifying to get something off your chest, but we almost always feel bad about it after the fact, unless we are addressing an issue of safety, which is another matter entirely.
In the martial arts dojo Rock and I attend, our Sifu (a word which can have different contextual meanings, but is generally used to refer to a skillful person or master, not entirely unlike “sensei”) addressed their weekly group class on the subject of gossip. Paraphrasing, the gist of what they had to say was, “Don’t spread gossip, because the people you choose to spread it to will always wonder what you’re saying about them to other people.”
This idea of community unification may be just a pipe dream, but it is one that the Initiative, as an organization, will continue to uphold whenever we can. We’re all just people out there trying to make a positive difference in our communities –
why tear someone else down who is only attempting to do the same?