Okay, gang. It’s been a minute. Given all that’s happened, it only feels right to attempt some sort of acknowledgment of this moment. Even if the words are hard to find.
So here it goes.
Most of us know that racial injustice is nothing new. Racism itself is a deplorable stain on our nation – riddled throughout our history, clearly enduring even in the present.
The killings that sparked this latest wave of protests are truly horrific. You don’t need to be an expert on race relations in the U.S to feel the pain that is watching someone cry out as they’re being murdered.* That pain is what it is to be human, what it means to have love for others.
To see our justice system once again fail these victims, and their families, broke something in all our humanity. Add to that the stressors that come with quarantine, a global health crisis, mass unemployment and centuries of systemic racism…and something significant seems to be happening.
For the first time in my adult lifetime, it feels as if everyone is talking about race – not just activists and people of color who feel it on a regular basis. The minority have shouted this rallying cry for decades, and the majority have finally shown consistency in how they listen.
So what does it mean that we’re seeing more people, of all races, finally embrace the Black Lives Matter movement? What does it mean that corporations, who were notoriously apolitical about this issue in the past, are now taking a stand? Is 2020 the year where, in the midst of significant pain and chaos, we start to see major movement in the racial justice arena?
And what role can/should I play? These are the questions on my mind these days.
If you’re asking yourself similar questions – I wanted to share a promising message I stumbled on while scouring Twitter, about how we can all find our lane in this movement. Not all of us can afford the risk of going out to protest with the masses. Not all of us are naturally vocal on the internet, which has the potential of being both inspiring and damaging all at once. Not all of us can shell out thousands of dollars to anti-racism charities. (p.s. Small monthly gifts are a more sustainable option for nonprofits anyway, if you can swing it.)
I do believe in one exception – and that’s voting. If your status in this country grants you the ability to put people in power at the local and federal level, then consider that a required lane.
But overall, I understand the urgency and anxiety of wanting to support this movement and not quite knowing how. As much as this movement needs people to be brave and make a shift, it also needs people to do those things authentically and with compassion – as all movements do. That’s tough when you’re just getting up to speed on racism in this country, spatting with loved ones over political disagreements, feeling overwhelmed & angry, or even feeling conflicted about certain policy proposals as they relate to police reform.
And yes, people of color are also facing these challenges.
If you follow me, then you know I don’t talk much about social justice on this blog. That’s because its topics encapsulate what I see as my ‘lane’: talking systems, process, and how we can leverage those things to be better. I’m not an expert on movements or organizing. I may not even have all the right vocabulary to talk about certain things.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more I could be doing – tangible things to help tip the scale towards justice.
I absolutely believe in the fight for a better world. Let’s all make sure this one endures, and get to driving.
*For anyone who noticed that I’m not using names – I acknowledge this post is a personal reflection, on a self-serving blog. That’s why I’ve chosen to omit individual victims’ names – out of respect for their families’ suffering, and to not add any more noise to the internet that might take away from their stories.