Yesterday afternoon, more than a hundred people attended “Tenenet: Seeking Light in Times of Darkness”, an event organized by Ethiopians for Constitutional Monarchy and held at Arlington Central Library. The event kicked off with feature speaker Sina Demsash who conveyed her story and experiences with three family members who have varying mental health challenges and the way she has dedicated her life to helping others who cope with cognitive impairments. The panel discussion, hosted by Bethlehem Bekele and included Dr. Abeba Fekade, Anteneh Demelash, Kesis Nehemiah Getu and Ustath Jemal Beshir Ahmed, tackled an issue that is frequently stigmatized and treated as taboo in our community.

Profound changes take place through imperceptible occurrences. Having such respected professionals and spiritual leaders from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Muslim Mosque was truly a paradigm shift. Of equal importance was having such a large turnout, this event and the network effect that it can create can be a catalyst for broader exchanges to take place at home and within our circles of influence. The impact was not localized, EthioTube aired the event live on Facebook; thousands of people tuned in to take part in a conversation that is sorely needed in our community. We likewise broadcasted the event on our YouTube channel, you can watch the full event at the bottom of this article.

We live in a time where everyone is clamoring for change; all too often, passions get in the way of progress as we yell at each other instead of talking to one another. The issues that are impacting our community and the injustices that we all care about cannot be resolved through anger and screaming matches. What we need is a conversation where we take the time to listen as much as we talk and we let compassion be our moral compass.

This is why Tenenet event was such an important milestone; as noted by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam yesterday, mental wellness is something that all of us need to be mindful of. Whether one is struggling with a diagnosed illness or suffering from the tensions of work, school or day to day developments, it is an imperative to pay attention to what our minds and bodies are telling us. When the stresses become too much to bear, instead of withdrawing and hiding in shame, it is vital that we seek help. The most important step to take when one is struggling is to talk instead of being silent. Conversations are the beginning of healing.

This is not a one and done for Ethiopians for Constitutional Monarchy, we are going to have future events for our community. Our aim is not to be a political party, our hope is to provide solutions and speak on behalf of all Ethiopians. If you are interested in being a part of a planning committee or have suggestions/ideas for future events, email us at info@ethiopians4cm.org.

Watch the full event below and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel by clicking HERE.