Finally. Our voices are beginning to be heard. It shouldn’t take our nation collectively witnessing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of an unarmed black man until he takes his last breath — for this to be different.
Yes, there are massive protests from one end of the country to the other. But there have been massive protests before.
It got me thinking. What makes this particular murder of a black man at the hands of a police officer (actually four officers, including the three who stood by and did nothing) different? Is it that it was captured on video for all 8+ agonizing minutes?
There was video of Eric Garner, but this feels different.
There was video of Philando Castile. But this feels different.
There was video of Walter Scott and far too many others. But this feels different.
What feels different is the reaction of white America.
What feels different is that some white Americans are finally beginning to understand and acknowledge their white privilege. “I always thought white privilege was crap. I now realize it was and is still alive.” This from a white man after reading an article I posted on Facebook that gives clear, concrete examples of what black Americans live with every day that our white counterparts do not.
What feels different is the rainbow of Americans walking alongside black protesters, demanding justice.
What feels different is that some white Americans are finally ready to listen to what black Americans have been shouting from the rooftops for decades, only to have our cries fall on deaf ears.
What feels different is that some white Americans are now asking for guidance on specific steps they can take to help dismantle the 400 years of black oppression on which this nation was founded.
“What can I do to be helpful to the situation our country is once again faced with?” “What books can I read?” “What can we DO that will make a real impact?” Just a sampling of what my white friends have reached out to ask.
What feels different is that some white Americans have finally come to the realization that it is not up to the oppressed to change the system that oppresses us.
Because this feels different, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that when the protests have ended the real work will begin.
I am hopeful that all Americans will recognize the power of their voices and VOTE their convictions.
I am hopeful that the courageous conversations will consume our national dialogue and serve as catalysts for real, systemic change.
The fact is, the powers that be will do what they do. We can’t wait on them to figure it out.
Yes, we are in desperate need of institutional change, but we, the people, comprise those institutions. So we are the ones responsible for building new institutions, brick by brick, one human interaction at a time.
We have the power right now to start breaking our unjust system and rebuild it as a truly equitable democracy, by engaging in raw, real talk with one another. By letting your vulnerability shine. By listening with an open mind. By acknowledging and accepting — finally and completely — our common humanity.
Make Your Voice Matter
Our Voices Matter is dedicated to fostering these courageous conversations in a series of upcoming podcasts. If you’re ready to show up, speak up and help create the country we deserve, please email us.
Light & Love Always,
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