Listen & Educate

Where do I even start with this post? I have been trying for days now to figure out how to put my thoughts into words that make sense. That in itself is a privilege. The ability to take a step back, compile my thoughts, then speak or act. Within the past couple of weeks so many things have happened or come to light that are awful and unjust. All of this is happening on top of a pandemic and the worst economic conditions in years, no doubt amplifying feelings and reactions.

I see posts to Facebook, Twitter, etc. saying that riots are uncalled for. They aren’t productive. There is a better way to do things. I hear and read these things and get frustrated and confused. It seems that the same people that are saying this, were many times the same people that had been infuriated over Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem, the NBA players wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during warm-ups or peaceful Black Lives Matter marches. I can’t help but think, if this is something that frustrates me as much as it does, how are the people most directly affected by these issues feeling?

I have been consuming more news and media in the past week than I have in any time I can remember. Taking in everything that is going on. I have been trying to figure out what I can do or what I can say. How can I educate myself more? How can I help positive change? How can I be actively anti-racist? What is the right thing to say as all of this is going on? I am not racist, but have I been doing enough to be an ally to people of color? There is so much I still don’t know and education is at my core. I have highly valued education for so much of my life and it is what I have dedicated my life to. I certainly do not fully understand everything that is going on or the system that we was built that lead to this, but I can try to learn. This is how I am going to try to contribute. I want to educate myself and help provide resources to you along the way. Throughout this time, I am sure my writing/wording will be imperfect. I accept that my knowledge is not strong enough that I will get everything right. I always invite constructive criticism and feedback to help ensure this process is as accurate and successful as it can be.

While I do feel this is the time for me to listen and to learn, I do still have a couple of thoughts I feel compelled to share and make very clear. The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, as well as the mile long list of other murders of black men, women and children by police, are heartbreaking and should not have happened. The fact that we live in a society where things like this do occur seems unfathomable, yet it is the society we have built and have complacently lived in. The anger, frustration, hurt and outrage over these murders and, more generally, the treatment of people of color in our society is something I hear and empathize with, even if I will never be able to fully understand it as a white women. Everyone expresses and processes their emotions in different ways. Therefore, I will not place judgement on how any of the protests have played out over the last week. I believe that every black man, woman and child has the right to express themselves in the way that feels right to them. I do want to make it clear that I denounce any white person using this time as an excuse to ignite, incite or encourage violence. If you want to be an ally, be an ally. Do not be destructive and bring negative attention to these predominantly peaceful protests.

In an effort to truly learn and listen, I will be pausing any original content until June 7. I want to take this time to research and learn. However, throughout the next week I would like to share my learnings and amplify the messages I am hearing. Each day I am going to share places to donate, businesses to support, things to read and videos to watch. I have already started doing a lot of research and what to share what I have been able to find. While I am doing a lot of research, I also what to highlight resources that others find helpful. If you have any suggestion, please feel free to put them in the comments and I will include them in future posts! Stay safe. Educate yourself. Help and support others. CML

Note: The feature image of this post is by Jane Mount. Please check out her social media and business ventures here: Instagram | Shop Site | Book

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