“Put your emotions aside for one second, one minute. As we take this walk, there will be no looting, no destroying anything. This is part of the change, this is not all of it, but this is part of it. Respect yourselves, take care of each other. Does that makes sense? Do you understand what I am saying? Will you follow that? Let’s get up and let’s walk.” – Denver, CO Protest Organizer, Leader, & Human Being
There have been multiple conversations I have listened to as well as been a part of over the last week. I have not done my part the way I should have and will forever continue to do the work that needs to be done to change myself in hopes to be a part of the change for the future. So I’ll start here.
In doing so, there have been many conversations about the violence, the riots, and the destruction. I would like to make it very clear that I am in no way telling anyone how to grieve, mourn, or be down right angry.
What I am saying is that when a non minority asks, “What do I wear because I am scared. I am afraid that I will be mistaken for a rioter,” the response of a black father says, “How do you think we feel every day when we walk outside the front door?”
What I am saying is that these men and women who have worked so hard to rally this community together have been fighting the fight for much longer than what the media is showing. Their prerogative is for peace, a platform for everyone to share their voice, to hold one another accountable for a safe and equal future for their children, to change policy, to peacefully fight against the ones who are holding them down. We need to help hold them up just as much.
What I am saying is that with privilege comes responsibility. What I am saying is that if we do not start having these conversations as difficult as they might seem because it makes you “uncomfortable” than you become part of the problem. I have been ignorant for so long to my privilege, but not anymore and I am truly sorry that it has taken me this long. I will not sit and ignore the fact that other individuals are perched high in their castle while they point fingers saying “it’s dangerous out there.” And even if it is, that is the point. The point is that it’s a dangerous life for black mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, and grandfathers.
So if you’re white and afraid, think twice about what it is you are saying. That your life matters more than those who experience this every single day. Again, I am so sorry (which will never be enough) it has taken this long for me to start standing up the way I should have been all along. But please know that I will never sit back down. It’s more than protesting, it’s more than sharing your words, it’s taking action.
(Disclaimer, I am not sharing this for whatever it is you might be thinking, I’m sharing this for context).
This morning on a walk, I overheard three white people sitting on their stoop saying “I am so tired of the protests. I just want it to be over with already.” At first I shook my head, then I thought about what I heard yesterday when a man spoke at the protest: “Next time you are out and there is no one there who is black to stand up and fight, fight for us. Speak up. Say what we can not say.” So I did. “You’re tired? THEY are tired.” The conversation went on for about five minutes or so as the man threatened to smack me and spank me. I will never shut my mouth, I will never sit in silence, I will NEVER be a part of the problem again. Because silence IS part of the problem. And this is only a small, tiny, fragment of my life which others have experienced for over 400 years.
Please also know, that the coronavirus did not just disappear. I understand that there are people of high risk or are in a position which they can’t participate in the protests. I understand that there are people who need to be at home for their children to educate and put food on the table. Those who need to be organizing, planning, and making changing so ‘boots on the ground’ looks different for everyone. But there are so many other ways in which you can help.
Do yourself a favor today. Have a conversation with someone. Educate yourself. Educate others. And let’s start being a part of a bigger conversation. Let’s take action. Because for so long I have sat and done nothing. Shame on me. But no more.
You can start by making sure you are registered to vote, and if you are, make sure your information is up to date for your mailing address (link below):
Next, take a look at when the primaries are in your state (link below):
Now, sign the petition (and donate if you are financially capable) for justice for Breonna Taylor (link below):
Finally, you can do any if not all of the following (I know I will be to help do my part):
Read, watch movies/documentaries, and listen to podcasts (literally just Google it, you’re already on Facebook).
Inform yourself on local policies.
Donate and volunteer to support the black community
Follow and reshare black influencers, organizations, and businesses on social media.
Call and write to your local politicians and government demanding action to be taken for anti-racist training for police.
VOTE. <- I used to believe my vote wasn’t important. The truth was, I just wasn’t educated.
Learn the names and stories of the ones who left this world too soon, because there is more than George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, and Ahmaud Arbery. There are many that the media and the police force has buried so no one will know. Learn their names for the names we don’t know. If you don’t know, then let me share those names with you, because I myself didn’t know a lot of these until very recently:
The last thing I will say is that I strongly encourage each of you to look outside of your box.
This is about Black Lives Matter, yes. I am not taking away from that. But it’s also about the fact that there is so much hate, injustice, killing, and pain that is happening all around this world, not just outside of our front doors. So again, take time to educate yourself on what is happening, and do everything you possibly can to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
I am being asked by a community of human beings to do something, so I am going to try every single day to make sure that I am in the most respectful, action-infused way possible.
Thank you for listening, and thank you for giving me an opportunity to use the mic. I only hope that I did it justice.