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By Jamie Utt
Everything in our popular lore and culture teaches us that love is a feeling, a whimsical but ephemeral emotion that’s all-consuming for a time. When we realize, though, that love is an act of will, a call to extend ourselves and sacrifice for our own well being and the well-being of others, as bell hooks asks of us in All About Love: New Visions, then love becomes Love. Love with a capital L binds us with our community in action of mutual responsibility and accountability. We must seek to love in the Agapic sense championed by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Gandhi, radicals who taught not a love of passivity or fleeting feeling but a Love of a deep, sustained, and profoundly-challenging bond. We are called in Love to recognize that our liberation is bound up in the liberation of every person. Such an ethic of Love is transformative but never easy. We must practice Love in every aspect of our lives, from our families and our friendships to our workplaces, our action and activism, and our social spaces. For me, as a person of much identity privilege, this understanding of Love is a call to an ever-evolving allyship and solidarity based in listening and accountability. For each of us, then, we must ask ourselves what this call to Love means for our own lives and our own commitment to social change.
Born and raised in Western Colorado, Jamie Utt has had a commitment to truth seeking and justice from an early age. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Global Studies from Earlham College where he dedicated his studies to conflict resolution and Middle Eastern Peace Studies. He spent years teaching social studies on Chicago’s west side, working within a committed team to empower young people to unleash their brilliance on the world that often overlooks them. His consulting and training offers educators and students tools for transforming educational environments to ensure that every student realizes their full potential. Since 2004, Jamie has worked as a consultant, educator, and trainer across the United States to build safer, more inclusive, and more justice-centered communities. One of the most dynamic new voices for change and inclusion today, his workshops and presentations have empowered thousands to take accountability for making this world a better place.