With a great amount of frustration and sadness I am penning this post . I, like most Americans have had time to process the shooting of Jacob Blake, as well as view the actions of the Gunman during the protest that followed the shooting of Mr. Blake. As a man of African Heritage I have reached come to the point almost (I said almost) being tired of the actions of SOME so called Americans. I listened to a post from a colleague of mine today and I have to agree that there is a level of fear that has enveloped this country, but I must say that this angst and undercurrent of "fight or flee syndrome" has existed in the Black community since before enslaved Africans were freed. Where as White Americans bring a legacy of pride in this country and all that it holds dear, descendants of the enslaved do not have that luxury we do not have the time to be tired Our lives and the lives of our descendants are contingent on the energy and fight that we enlist TODAY! Like my fathers generations and my grandfathers generation who endured our houses getting shot up, churches bombed for holding NAACP meetings and even family members lynched for no more reason than having more melanin that others. So I ask as you read this: What side are you on? This is not a question of White or Black, it's not "The Right " or "The Left". This is not a political issue for our generation. I ask, WHEN did fair and equal treatment of an individual's right to existence become a political issue, something to be debated and argued as if we, the point of the argument are not HUMAN?
It's now time for the "YOU HAVE TO BE'S" meaning:
YOU HAVE TO BE... Ready to step out of your comfort zone and truly see the atrocities that are happening around you and realize that you if you say nothing that you are agreeing with those who are perpetrating the atrocities.
YOU HAVE TO BE... Ready to be uncomfortable. Sit, Listen, take it in and repeat. These conversations are truly where the work starts and DON'T belittle or try to "whitesplain" your position, just follow the first three prompts.
YOU HAVE TO BE... Ready to get you hands dirty and when you see or hear something being said, even if it's someone who you love (especially if it's someone your love) correct them and you will be able to tell them why what they are saying or joking about is not good.
YOU HAVE TO BE... Ready to be in this struggle arm in arm, fight for fight, boycott, after march after whatever it takes until we are closer to TRUE EQUITY.
The above are four simple things that you have be willing to do, and trust me there are more, the question again is: What do you do? I ask an question in the same vein: What have you done so far? What I mean in that question is what have you done in your lifetime? examine where you come from, take a honest inventory of comments that were made about people of color that just didn't sit right with you. For some of you, this means taking inventory of your entire life and some of the times, places, and people in your life and it shines a lens on them that may have shades of racism, misogyny, privilege (even if there wasn't monetary comfort) phobia against those of another sexual orientation. When you see the world through these new lenses, these High Definition lenses, your life and the lives of those around you will be forever changed. This work will take a lot, it will challenge the very fabric of all that you hold dear, it will accuse, it will convict, and will place in an intellectual and moral prison for which the possibility of parole depends on the convicted.
Rehabilitation, Reconciliation and Redemption. With each of the aforementioned there is always an opportunity or option for change. We tend to think of change as being bad or painful. We never think of the positives that change can bring. (see tile at the end of this post.) Have you ever stopped to think to yourself: What would my world look like if there was Diversity , Equity, and inclusion? Did I really lose anything; my money, my family, even my seat at the table? Let's reverse that thinking and think: What have I gained by opening my eyes and threw away all the Vitriol, hatred, rigidity. You may then say "I have gained a new family, a new group in which to spread love amongst . I have through love and struggle welcomed my new brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews into my life and me to theirs." If this sounds to utopian or pie in the sky, that 's ok. I realize that I may never see this day but my children may get a glimpse, my Grandchildren may be the first generation to research what racism is and not live it out like their grandparents and my grandparents. Do we give up because we may never see the day ABSOLUTELY not! We push forward and find meaning in the struggle, purpose in the pain and redemption through our relationships.
So You have some decisions to make and questions to ask:
Do you sit by and let injustices continue, knowing that they are wrong?
Do you stand when you see something, hear something (a "joke" a slight on a person of a different gender identity than yours) ?
Do you turn off your heart when you see a person who has "less than you?"
What have you done TODAY to promote being more inclusive?
If you get past the first question with yes, don't read on...Start there! I share a post from my A4C IG page, The following quote is from a fictional character in the movie " The Equalizer," but it speaks volumes to our current situation.