Because I haven’t said it clearly yet (my last weekly email was rather rambling, you may have noticed), I would like to put it out there that
BLACK LIVES MATTER
…In fact, they are SACRED.
And I stand in solidarity with fellow BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) to fight against systemic racism, white supremacy, and social injustices that have been deeply embedded as anti-Black attitudes, policies, and practices for centuries.
Not all People of Color face the same levels of injustice. Certainly, Black (and Indigenous) folx have borne the unfairest burdens in our society and faced the worst consequences of entrenched racism.
Black communities in particular, have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been dying at higher rates (2.5 times higher than Whites, 13,000 more lives lost), and suffered economically as a result, making the existing economic divide even more discrepant and ravaging.
People like Ahmaud Arbery, Brianna Taylor, George Floyd survived the pandemic of COVID-19, but could not survive the pandemic of racism. They were murdered – UNARMED – in a one-sided war fought by police officers on people committing the crime of being Black and living life.
I have been so aggrieved by all that has been going on, (heartsick, sad, tearful, outraged, overwhelmed, filled with sorrow, in constant mourning), and been revolted by every vile action or word from the WHITE House (I guess the name is fitting), that continues to be racist and inhumane, divisive and truly horrible. He should just stop talking.
I have had merely a taste of what Black people feel all the time. It breaks my heart to see so many beautiful Black men and women crying publicly, unable to stop the choking sensation as they break down. Raw, vulnerable and strong, raked by anguish.
I have been touched by the activism in the streets, and the diversity of people equally outraged and determined to not let this go on a moment longer, as people from all backgrounds stand and resist together. Such solidarity.
I have been examining my privilege as a non-Black Person of Color; as someone with an education, a home to shelter in place in, work that I can continue even during times of pandemic and unrest. I have a loving mixed race family, economic security, and I don’t have Black skin. I have the physical, mental, emotional capacity to be helpful to others, to share my privilege to help others gain access, feel empowered, experience equality.
I actually believe that being a Person of Color – even in this discriminatory and racist society – IS a privilege in and of itself, because it allows me to transcend many worlds, though I admit (with some shame in my heart) that sometimes I have hidden my pride in what I come from and who I am, in order to get by. Or I have been silent when I’ve seen injustice. I am aware that being able to hide or be silent is another privilege I have. I am committed to becoming more aware of, and dismantling the harmful effects of my privilege.
I also know my privilege is different from white privilege, and I am committed to addressing it with as many as I can.
“White privilege does not mean your life hasn’t been hard. It means your skin tone isn’t one of the things making it harder! There’s plenty of other privileges (socioeconomic, male, heterosexual cisgender, Christian, able-bodied) but white privilege is perhaps the most enduring throughout history.” – @espringermft
I am committed to confront the racism I see in others, and more importantly, the racism or the misuse of privilege I see in myself. I deeply regret and look to make amends for any actions on my part that have sustained (whether in silence or action), or benefited from, the ingrained practices of racism.
I stand with the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement and commit to the following:
- I will speak with a consultant who helps to uncover the impact of my privilege
- I will learn more (and unlearn more of the hurtful attitudes) about racial trauma, generational trauma, social justice, institutionalized racism, mass incarceration, colonization, privilege, internalized oppression, unconscious bias, implicit bias, micro aggressions
- I will be even more sensitive to BIPOC clients and ask how they experience their own race and culture (pride, losses, hurts, micro aggressions, beliefs, values, etc.), and listen even more deeply to their stories.
- I will talk to more white people about their privilege, asking hard questions, and having uncomfortable conversations.
- I will examine the ways that I have benefited from racism or sustained it through my actions or silence
- I will explore my own biases, especially any anti-Black sentiments, as a non-black POC, and/or any assumptions I have that as People of Color, we have shared experiences
- I will personally purchase anti-racism books by Black authors
- I will support Black-owned businesseS
- I will donate regularly to causes that work on anti-racism
- I will evaluate once a month how well I’m doing on these commitments
- I will admit ways that I have endangered black lives
- I will hold space for people’s stories, feelings, unloading of deep emotional life
- I am willing to be uncomfortable
- I will speak out against racism and racial bias – and not see silence as my only option
- I will make every effort to embody a spirit of anti-racism, while enhancing my commitment to empathy, kindness and compassion
- I will confront guilt and shame I have about my privilege (which is a privilege in and of itself) and create wise action instead
- I will continue to practice my own self care and mindful attention, and teach others to do the same, in order to build resilience and the practice of kindness among folx engaged in the long struggle we are faced with
- I stand against racism, oppression, dehumanization of people of color, social injustice, white supremacy.
- I see you. I hear you. I feel you.
What are you grappling with? What stand are you taking during this profound moment in history? What’s going on in your inner life as you reflect on all of this and how do you feel? I would love to hear your perspective, particularly if you are BIPOC, and I welcome any courageous dialogue.
Many blessings and much care to you as you make your way through this heartbreaking and soul-shattering time. May you have hope in your heart, and a balance of the deep rage you have against racism while maintaining a peaceful heart.