Love is my answer. I chose love with my entire being. I will not make decisions from a place of fear. I choose to act from a place of love. Love is strength. Love is action. Love is how I ground myself.
We are in times of change. The need for action has been upon us, and now it is here in force. George Floyd was murdered at the hands of a police officer in daylight for supposedly using a fake $20 bill at a convenience store. The officer knelt on the neck of the handcuffed, unarmed body of Mr. Floyd for almost 9 minutes. That was long enough for the officer on his neck or the three other officers to change the situation. They didn’t.
This happened less than a mile from my house on Monday, May 25th, Memorial Day. Decades, perhaps centuries, of the mistreatment of Black people has come to the forefront of awareness of White people. It’s time for change.
Change is painful. Change is uncomfortable. Change requires each of us to know ourselves. I find that the past few days as I walk Sam, my dog, in my neighborhood and say hello, from a safe social distance, to the many different people who live in my neighborhood, that I am thinking about what I value.
I value connection. I value compassion and caring. I value helpfulness. I value taking care of the people around me. I value generosity. I value loving kindness. I value justice. I value freedom. I value equity.
A week ago, I had to make a hard decision. I decided to stay in my neighborhood in spite of the fact that people wanting to hurt my neighborhood might invade.
I united and connected with my neighbors. I walked my street and handed out my email and cell number and asked for the names, emails and cell numbers of my neighbors. I wanted to know the names and faces of my neighbors. Because of COVID-19, I wore my face mask as I walked house to house. It was refreshing and hopeful to make connections.
Then my housemate and I filled bins and coolers with water in case of fire. We picked up fire hydrants at the local recreation center, where they had been donated. Our cars were ready to be driven away if we needed to immediately evacuate. Our TO GO bags were packed and ready, including all my diabetes supplies.
Luckily, we did not need to evacuate. Our neighborhood, the Powderhorn Park area of Minneapolis, MN is very organized. We have a Neighborhood Watch program and we are using an app called Discord to connect with one another. That entire weekend I held hope and love in my heart. I continue to do that.
And I recognize, at this moment in time, all of us, me included, need to step up.
I am examining my internalized white privilege. I am reflecting deeply on how I use language and how I might be making judgements that are not equitable.
I have joined an online book group organized by one of my Lean In Together friends, Kelly Vriezen. The Facebook group is called Learning for Change and it was created to help primarily white folx (ALL are welcome!) dig into the topics of systemic racism and white privilege, identify and challenge biases, strive for personal growth, and be called to greater action for REAL and lasting change.
The Color of Law
The first book we are reading is The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. I’ve started listening to it, and given my life experience working in Detroit, growing up in Saint Paul, MN and attending two racially diverse high schools, and living for 9 years in Denver, CO none of what I’m learning is surprising. However, it is jarring to have laid out so clearly the systemic government laws and policies that created and still create racial segregation in the United States.
Unlearning + Action
I am committed to learning and unlearning and paying attention to what I am called to do. Time for action is upon us all.
We must do it together. We must act from a place of love.
For all the white people who read this blog, here is an excellent anti-racism resource guide.