It’s simply impossible to talk about self-care, health and wellness, without also acknowledging that these last several weeks have felt like we are a nation on the edge, a nation burning with pain, frustration and rage. A nation ripped apart by years of systemic racial injustice and inequity, police brutality and economic disparity on mind-boggling levels. And a nation whose exquisite democratic experiment is in danger of breaking apart.
We watched in horror as the very breath was squeezed out of George Floyd by a nonchalant white police officer and his colleagues. You and I know that he was not the first, rather George Floyd’s murder was the final straw. Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin are the names we know thanks to the media, but there are thousands more. Every one of these Black Lives Matter, each and every one is important, cherished, valued, loved, beautiful and part of our collective soul. While Mood Indigo has always been focused on equality, inclusion and a belief that we are all inherently connected as equals, and part of something much bigger than ourselves, I understand that we need to be doing much, much, more. I don’t have an answer or a roadmap, but I have some thoughts and I’ve been listening to the voices of current civil rights revolution….once again! Justice can’t wait!
I can only really speak to discrimination as an immigrant and woman of color. Issues I’ve had the great luck to have dealt with on a comparatively minute level. It’s painful and often so subtle that it’s only on reflection that I recognize what was really meant by the comment or action. What the black community experiences on an everyday level is magnified a thousand fold on a daily basis. An unfathomable mental, emotional and physical toll that is nothing short of trauma, a guarded fight or flight experience every single day. A trauma that has been 400 years in the making and one that has never been healed.
I reached out to Andrew Lovedale, when I saw his heart breaking post on Facebook and asked if I could share it with you. He is clearly a better human being than I, and his connection with God seems to bring him a level of peace that is enviable. I know Andrew Lovedale as the extraordinarily talented basketball player who along with Stephen Curry, led the Davidson College basketball team to the NCAA Elite 8 a great many years ago. Our entire community joined together in celebrating this young, talented group of men as we cheered them on and mourned their loss. We are very lucky that Andrew is still a part of our community and continues to do amazing things both locally and around the world.
I felt an overwhelming rage and fury when I read his comments, followed by a desolate sense of sadness. If you struggle at all to understand and imagine what it’s like to live in the US as a person of color, to deal with ignorance, bias, hate and evil, just please read Andrew’s words. While he may be able to forgive as a way to heal and thrive, I know, without a doubt, that I do not and cannot, at this point in time.
“To the young man and his dad who rolled down their windows as they passed Uche and I on I-77 this morning and pretended to shoot at us, I FORGIVE YOU.
To the now famous basketball player who called me a monkey while I switched on to guard him during the 07-08 NCAA tournament, I FORGIVE YOU.
To the couple who refused to eat next to me and ordered their food to go instead, I FORGIVE YOU.
To the young men who thought I stole a light skinned child as I walked with Osas into the car from the grocery store, I FORGIVE YOU .
To the neighbor who still refuses to respond to me saying hello, I FORGIVE YOU. (And I will continue to say hello) .
I understand that for true change and healing to happen, you have to first forgive. That was one of the biggest gifts Jesus gave to me. I hope that you are listening and are joining the conversation. If you are still where you were, I hope you join in the conversation. Our little gestures that go unchecked add up over time into actions that eventually alter the course of people’s lives. You take those little gestures to the workplace, to school, to church, to your homes and to seats of government and when others speak up, you wonder where this is coming from. Guard your hearts. Feed your souls with the fruits of the spirit. Tell the truth at all costs. And before you leave the house everyday, look yourself in the mirror and challenge yourself to be the best you.”
~ Andrew Lovedale
Can you imagine walking out into the world every single day having to deal with this insanity in the year 2020??? Why are these Andrew Lovedale’s experiences??
In her New York Times Op-Ed, Michelle Alexander states, “Deep down, we already knew this kind of thing happens to black people. All of us knew it when we watched Amy Cooper call the police on a black man who calmly asked her to put a leash on her dog. We knew it when we watched two white men in a pickup truck ambush Ahmaud Arbery and shoot him to death while he was jogging in a neighborhood outside Brunswick, Ga. And we knew it before George Zimmerman stalked and murdered a black teenager named Trayvon Martin. We know these truths about black experiences, but we often pretend we don’t.”
We live in the year 2020! There is no more time to pretend it doesn’t happen. Justice simply cannot wait!
So what are we going to do about this? What are YOU going to do about this? How are we going to support or fellow black friends, colleagues and citizens? Our system feels very broken, and yet we know that it’s working in the way that it was designed to work. Built on the backs of slavery and patriarchy and it is time for a systemic change.
This is not the time to shrug and give up, or turn away because it’s uncomfortable and not your fault!
This is not the time to look away and wait it out because you have enough problems of your own!
This is not the time to tune out and get overwhelmed by what you’re seeing and hearing!
This is YOUR country and we’re talking about your fellow human beings, so please ask yourself, what kind of Country do we want to be?
What kind of people do we want to be?
Who do I want to be?
And finally, what will you tell your children and grandchildren about the part you played in this system of oppression?
Begin with the basics: Support, reach out, Protest, read, educate, listen, donate and shop consciously!
I tend to go to books to help guide me, so here are a few as a place to start.
Books (just a few to get you started):
Ibram X. Kendi, “How to Be an Antiracist”
“Stamped From the Beginning”
“Stamped,” (his young adult book co-authored with Jason Reynolds. )
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
Paul Butler, “Chokehold”
Angela Davis, “Women, Race and Class”
James Baldwin, “The Fire Next Time”
Howard Zinn, “A People’s History of the United States”
Social media is full of information about how to have an impact; what you can do in addition to Vote; where to donate and how to be an ally and support black and brown voices. If you’re still unsure, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask. I don’t have all the answers but I can connect you with the people who do!
Mood Indigo is donating a portion of it’s profits through 2020 to The Southern Poverty Law Center in it’s fight for equality and social justice. Join me please: https://www.splcenter.org
#BlackLivesMatter #BLM #EqualJustice