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Build bridges, not barriers

Books and movies are meant to entertain, and often educate us. In today’s world, as we spend more time at home, the need to be entertained and educated has never been greater.

We also can find within their pages and frames messages of hope that things can get better.

The same can be true of surprising, catastrophic or life-changing events. We just need to look for that silver lining.

Friday’s death of Chadwick Boseman should be seen as more than just a moment of mourning for one of Hollywood’s young, bright stars.

The roles that he took provided inspiration for countless numbers of young people around the world. He morphed into Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier in “42”; Thurgood Marshall, the nation’s first African American Supreme Court justice in “Marshall”; and King T’Challa of Wakanda, Marvel Comics’ first Black superhero, in “Black Panther.”

Beyond the inspiration his theatrical roles provided, his life should serve as a shining example of the kind of people the world needs more of.

His career put him in a position where people would listen to what he had to say, or be moved by his actions. And it is those actions that speak the loudest.

For the past four years, unbeknownst to most, he was fighting colon cancer. He continued his work in between surgeries and chemotherapy. And when he could, he visited children in hospitals.

In 2017, he told People magazine, “I definitely value the fact that I can change people’s lives on a given day.”

It’s what his character in “Black Panther” strived to do. At the end of the film, King T’Challa delivered a speech to the United Nations that should serve as a benchmark for today’s society. He said, the times are dire and the citizens of the world need to look out for each other.

“Fools build barriers. The wise build bridges,” he told the assembly.

Those are words that Boseman took to heart. They are words that many of us could take to heart.

Boulder City needs more bridges — bridges between the members of council, bridges between the council and staff members, bridges between city leaders and the community, and bridges between community members of different political beliefs.

There are too many hurtful words being bandied about on social media. There is too much hatred and anger outside of our homes. There is too much violence on our televisions.

Hopefully, as we watch and rewatch Boseman’s and others’ performances on screen or return to the world of one of our favorite books, they can continue to provide inspiration to live a better life. Or, at least, gives us a way to find the silver lining of an otherwise bleak situation.

More importantly, when it comes time to return to our places of employment, resume social activities and gather for special occasions, we will find bridges and hands outstretched in friendship.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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