Shining Light on Division and Oppression

Unless you’re in the thick of it, you might think gardening is all flowers and rainbows. Giving those flowers space to grow and protecting them from unwanted pests is part of the work we do. Plants, like people, need freedom and justice.

To speak about unity, it is necessary to speak about division, as to speak about freedom it is necessary to speak about oppression.

To speak about liberty, it might help to explore how uplifting the individual’s liberties can uplift the collective from the grassroots.

Unity, in my view, is only possible through radical acceptance of these paradoxes. By embracing the paradox of the United States of America, we can begin to embrace each other.

As individuals in a diverse, tossed salad rather than groups drowning in a melting pot of ruthless fire and forced uniformity, I would hope each of us has some unique combination of red, white, and blue and that we can unite through our differences.

Without justice, unity is tyranny. Without dialogue, unity is based in falsehood. So how can we reckon with a fractured nation? Is unity, even among friends, possible in my lifetime?

Think of the children, the seeds of the future. Navigating the tension between freedom and justice is urgent, or else we might lose the ground we stand on.

Read the rest of my new piece for the national depolarization organization Braver Angels, “What I Need to Unify Right Now.” It’s a sneak peek at what I’ll be speaking about on a panel at FreedomFest this week. Consider, too, what you need to come together with loved ones more fully in 2021.


P.S. Let’s do the garden and the world justice. If you haven’t yet, I invite you to watch my short video of finding unity within and becoming independent in a polarized landscape as part of the Anthem Film Festival at FreedomFest Saturday July 24, 1:35 pm, with a panel on “Creating Unity in a Divided World” following the film.

Feel free to email me your thoughts and I’ll respond in a week or two after I get back from the festival in South Dakota.

Sienna Mae Heath was once a pessimistic liberal, but has now awakened as an optimistic independent. She’s living in between, part of the bridge generation trying to find unity and truth for us all. As the star and writer of the micro-documentary “Real Unity” produced by Free The People, she welcomes her fellow Americans to share their journeys of political sovereignty #IDeclareMyFreedom. Sienna is a member of the national depolarization organization Braver Angels. Her most recent pieces have been featured on The Kim Iversen Show, The Equiano Project, Medium’s Society, History, and Race pages, and The Independent’s “Conversations.” A world traveler with a home base in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, she knows how a profound connection with nature sparks healing. This flourishing growth writer is known as The Quarantined Gardener, leading the Lehigh Valley to victory gardens in 2020-21. Sienna has also created The Hero’s Journey worksheet for Turning Point LV to guide survivors of abuse in telling their stories and finding their personal liberty.

Follow her on MediumInstagram, and Twitter.