This is a movement, not just a moment!
The past few months have shaken and awaken the world. It’s made everyone question exactly what it means to be a human on this earth. Between COVID and the continued Black Lives Matter movement, our world has been set on fire. I’ve been silently watching as the world burns but today I wanted to speak up and speak out. I cannot stay silent and must address the systemic racism that is still so profound in our country. I’ve stayed silent because I wasn’t sure how to speak up. I worried I didn’t have the facts straight and that I would say the wrong thing or offend someone and I will probably do that with the words I write today, but speaking out is better than silence. I want to learn and to grow and thats why I’m writing this today.
I grew up in a very loving home. I was taught to love others no matter the color of their skin, their sexual orientation or their disability. During my childhood I saw the release of the first black barbie doll and commercials advertising makeup for black women. From a surface level perspective I saw change and an effort to promote equality. But what I didn’t realize was that was just the tip of the iceberg. Growing up I felt proud to be an American and used to say things like “I don’t see color” and “I love all people so I’m not racist.” This attitude is dangerous and one I needed to dismantle. The older I get the more I realize that my pride and those thoughts were rooted in white privilege and the more I uncover the racism in my own heart the more I swallow that pride and learn how I’ve allowed racism to continue. We are not the land of the free, we are the land of the oppressed and my ancestors have created systems to keep that alive and well in my day and age.
I’ve been listening to stories of black people and their experiences with racism and it’s help me uncover and realize my role as an oppressing white person, but I also feel shame to know that a black person had to relive that trauma by telling their story in order for me to learn. Black people shouldn’t have to relive these horrifying moments in their lives just so a white person can learn where they continue to hold unconscious bias. It is in no way the black communities responsibility to teach you where you are racist. As a white person it is your responsibility to do the work and teach yourself where you need to do better. It’s our responsibility to take action against the oppression that our white ancestors put on our communities and to expose where our families have oppressed people of color for generations. How can I be a good ancestor? This is a question I will continue to ask myself for the rest of my time here. How can I wake up and everyday and be more aware of how I can do better as a white person. We need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This work is not easy but it’s more important than ever. Black people continue to suffer in silence and swallow their fear every single day. Racism has made black people mask their frustration and anger which has lead to years of silencing their stories that should be told in order to bring our world together. The burden of being black in America is so great and we must work to lift this burden from them. Black people have spoken out and we need to sit down, listen and learn.
Today is Juneteenth which commemorates June 19, 1865, the date enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were told they were free—more than two full years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Now, 155 years later, people in cities and towns across the US continue to mark the occasion with celebrations of Black culture and heritage. I urge you to take some time today to learn about black history and to challenge what you know about the past. I hope that by doing so you realize the history you learned in school has silenced black history. Black people learned about our white history and it’s time for us to learn about theirs. Change will not happened in our world over night. Change starts with you. It’s starts in our own hearts. It’s time to do the work white people.
I stand with Black lives
I stand with the hope that the presence has brought us
Let us march on until VICTORY IS ONE
I would love to hear your thoughts and to hear about where you are in your journey. There is far more to be said here. Let’s help each other learn and grow. Please leave any other resources that you’ve found helpful as well. Oh yeah and DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!
Videos to watch:
Books to read:
Me and White Supremacy
Places to donate:
Websites to visit:
Music to listen to: