I have been quiet for the past few days both online and in communication with others. I have been quiet because I have been at a loss for words. I know what I feel but I do not know quite how to express the heaviness in my heart. I also know the privilege I possess and fear saying something that will be offensive to someone…..So here I am. Sitting with all the feelings, but I am ready to speak….but first a story of how I got ready to speak.
Yesterday I had to go to school and clean my classroom. I was already feeling so much as I headed in for what would be the last time this year. So much unfinished business and things unsaid/unheard.
I was blessed to have a friend from school help me as the workload was immense and the timeline was short….one day to get it all done! As we worked we talked. Good Lord! Talking in person to another adult (even while wearing a mask and socially distancing) was something I had missed on a cellular level.
Eventually the conversation turned to the state of race relations in this country. My friend is a Person of Color and someone I admire greatly. She is someone that I can not only have difficult conversations with but also ask uncomfortable questions and get answers that often do not sit well with me. She forces me to check my white privilege at the door but is so very kind and compassionate when I fail in any way/shape/form.
So we talked. Actually…she talked. I listened. I asked questions and I listened to her answers. I heard her heartache, her fear, her love, her anger.
I told her I felt helpless as I didn’t know what to do….that I didn’t want to step into something in the wrong way. I wanted to voice my anger but in the most supportive way possible. She then said something that I can not get out of my head. She said, “You need to speak up and speak out. People will listen to you and your words before they listen to me say the same thing….Your words carry more weight than mine…” Why? Solely because I am white. That, ladies/gentlemen/everyone in between, is WRONG! That is so very wrong! My words should not matter more because of the color of my skin, my gender, my religion….. My words should not matter more than anyone else’s.
I am angry. I am angry that my words carry more weight than others. I am angry that some feel they have the right to demean others. I am angry that people live in fear in this country for so many reasons. I am angry that the health and safety of people is in danger. I am angry that people feel helpless. I am angry that racism and prejudice are still alive and well in this country. I am angry.
So, I continue to sit with the anger as well as the rest of the messy and uncomfortable feelings, trying to sort through them. In the meantime, I have to do something. So I will initiate conversations with others about difficult topics. I will ask questions and listen to the answers. I will listen to the pain, sadness, anger, fear, joy, and tenderness of those around me. I will use my voice to speak words of understanding, empathy, love and kindness into this world. I will hold space for others to feel, to share, to express themselves in ways that help us all to become better humans. We are all human beings and we all matter. All lives matter but right now? Black lives matter more than others.


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