I feel a deep sense of shame writing this out.
To the families who are in the trenches and who live the reality of discrimination & injustice, day in and day out- we are deeply ashamed & sorry.
This uprising that we are witnessing all over is entire lifetimes of your pain being unleashed. We acknowledge the scars you wear of centuries of systemic, insidious and targeted oppression at ALL levels.
We see you, we are listening and we stand with you.Rest in peace sweet Mr.Floyd. We have failed you and others who have died at the hands of racial prejudices & inhumanity.
The rest of us-To say that as a society we have miserably failed our black brothers and sisters and generations of beautiful souls is an understatement.
When will this insanity of judging people based on the colour of their skins end? The COLOUR of their SKIN! The amount of a pigment or the lack thereof in human skin!!!!
Here we go: C18H10N2O4 is melanin. Some of us have more and some less.That is all.
It's not enough to not be racist. We have all got to be loudly anti-racist, to stand in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters. It's a time to listen and reflect. There is so much outrage that we all feel, but for the majority of us who are not out protesting and taking care of our families- how do WE change the narrative?
Here are some things to take action on:
Within Ourselves:Let's begin with taking responsibility- it is our collective responsibility to make this change happen. Not just the government's or the justice system's. These institutions are a reflection of who we are as a society. Who we are as individuals. Acknowledge the pain and suffering that we have let happen knowingly, unknowingly, by turning away or not looking at all. It was clearly not enough to have not been racist. Our dissonance should be amplified at every opportunity. But it begins with taking responsibility.
Behind Closed Doors & Minds:
Harness our own influencer status: We all have our circle of influence beginning from immediate family extending out to acquaintances. And we do hold the power of influence. Our words matter. Our actions matter. To varying degrees with everyone, but they do. Simply acknowledging and becoming aware of this power that each one of us carries, will give us the strength we need to voice our dissonance.
Educate our children: This forks two ways fellow parents. Firstly- we have the power to stop the generational biases. Much of our own mental makeup stems back to what we heard during our own childhood & parenting. And so it shall continue for generations more- unless we stop that cycle. Consciously hit the brakes on them. Secondly- educate our kids. Teach them right from wrong. And in this case there IS only black and white. We respect humans of all races, cultures, religions, orientations, castes, social statuses. No gray areas here.
Change the conversation in families & communities: This one hits close to home. I am not black, I am brown. And you'd think that people of colour would understand each other's problems better, would uphold & promote each other's values. I'm ashamed and sorry to say that that does not happen as often nor as effortlessly as it should. It's time to change those conversations in all our communities my friends- wherever we come from. We will not silently cringe at someone making a racist remark or calling names anymore. WE WILL CALL THEM OUT. Yes we'll risk friendships, yes it will get awkward, but THIS is where the insidiousness of it all festers. This is where these prejudices live, grow, thrive and then spill out onto the streets.
This is not a time to unplug, and detox from the serious events happening in the world. This is the time to scream. Make yourself heard. This is the time when we join hands with our fellow human beings and we say enough is enough. This cycle of racism, oppression and mistreatment ends NOW, and that end starts with you and I.
This is my pledge - I promise to stand up for what is right. I promise to fight for and help protect the rights of the black community to fair and equal treatment. I promise to raise my brothers and sisters up on my shoulders and not allow anyone to be treated as any less of a person because of the colour of their skin. I promise to listen to your stories, and your struggles, and then take your hand and tell you it will be okay because we will pull through this together.
I will say their names, so their lives and legacies will live on.
Are you with me?