I’ve done more learning these past few weeks than ever before in my life.
That is due largely in part to those who have kindly been sharing their stories, educating, and taking time to spread this message that we, as white people, should have been open to receiving so much sooner.
Truthfully, with all the commentary around the BLM movement, this is the first time I’ve ever heard the term “Anti-Racist” and I am forever changed by that. Mostly because it’s opened my eyes to how blissfully ignorant I’ve been. Ignorant to the systems created by white people to oppress those who don’t look like us. Ignorant to the suffering of the BIPOC community at the hands of white people historically and currently. Ignorant to how I benefit from it on a daily basis. Ignorant to my own privilege.
I identified as “not a racist” my entire life, and therefore, thought of myself as “one of the good guys”. But what I didn’t know at the time was:
You do not need to be racist in order to benefit from systemic racism.
You do not need to be racist in order to enable white supremacy.
My white privilege means that I will never fully understand the the oppression of the BIPOC community has endured.
In order to combat it, I will need to commit to a lifelong journey of educating myself on white supremacy and how it benefits me in order to be a better ally and take actions towards dismantling it.
I feel guilty. I have gotten things wrong and will continue to to get things wrong. I will need to be open to receiving correction and feedback humbly and with gratitude. I will not have all the answers. At times, I will have no clue what to do or say or try. But I will continue to listen, learn, grow, repeat so that I can apply me new understandings in a way that is productive and proactive.
I see that now.
For everyone shouting “Black Lives Matter”, for everyone sharing their experiences, for everyone living “No Justice, No Peace”, please know that your message is not falling on deaf ears.
I hear you. I see you. I love you. I stand with you. I am working and will continue to work to use my privilege to show up better for you.
Right now, that looks like signing petitions to bring justice to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery as well as to defund the police. It means financially supporting causes I believe in like The Innocence Project and The Bail Project and spreading their messages so others can do so as well. It means diversifying my feeds so I am connected with more makers or color. It means diversifying my home with art created by and depicting BIPOC faces in a way that is respectful without appropriation. It means creating a more diverse environment for my daughter through books, toys, music, and television shows that celebrate all different colors and cultures. It starts here, but it by no means ends here.
Whoever you are reading this, wherever you are-
I hope you are safe physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
I hope you are taking care of yourself, your family, and your friends.
I hope you know this is a safe space for you to share and enjoy.
I hope you know you are loved so so dearly.
Your life matters.
Be good people to yourselves and others.