Friday, July 8, 2016

Black Lives Matter

I am not usually one to get too political on the blog, but some things transcend politics. I've been listening and reading a lot over the past week, and having discussions with friends as well. I've been feeling angry, shocked, confused, and a wide variety of other emotions.

This past week has been a scary one for race relations in America. It's been a scary year, or couple of years, for race relations, and it feels like right now, everyone is on fire with unrest and anger. This week, two black men were shot by the police, on video tape. And while we don't know exactly what happened before the cameras start rolling - some of the facts we do know are sobering and make you feel like you've been punched in the stomach when you hear.

One of the victims, Philando Castile, who was pulled over for a broken tail light, ended up being shot in his car and lay there slumped over  until he died, with his 4 year old daughter in the backseat, his girlfriend still sitting next to him, and an officer pointing a gun to them the entire time. We don't know the details of the conversation, what was said by the police officer or him that led to the shooting, but the facts just do not line up. He was pulled over for a broken tail light and ended up dead in his car and something is not right there.

Yesterday morning, in Atlanta, in Piedmont Park, where I often run in the mornings, at 5:00 a.m., a young black man was found hanging from a tree. The initial reports say it is suicide but how that is determined, I do not know. The call of "suicide" I don't think is believed by many. The Mayor also announced that the case was being turned over to the FBI and there are also statements going around social media that the KKK was recruiting in the park the night before.

I was not there and I do not know the details, but I spend a lot of time in that park, and the idea of it being a suicide does not make sense in my mind. It doesn't make sense in many people's minds, and yesterday peaceful protests and marches took place throughout Atlanta, with some of my friends participating, shouting "No justice. No peace." as they stopped traffic on the 75/85 major highways through the city in a plea for answers.

Throughout the rest of the country, people organized themselves as well, which also included some tragedy as well, with the terrible shooting and killing of police officers in Dallas. Police officers who just earlier before were taking pictures and supporting the protesters they were there to protect. For this, and all good police officers who are in further danger right now, we mourn.

How is this the world that we live in?

It is scary to see things seemingly spiraling in front of you and feel helpless. This situation. The entire U.S. political situation. And not to mention, the mass murders that I haven't written about on here, are taking over our news and it is becoming common place. The night club shooting in Orlando completely broke my heart and had me crying at my desk for a full week. It is so senseless and heart breaking to steal peoples lives in this, or any way. It is horrible.

We've got to be better. We've got to have conversations. Respect one another. Break down barriers. build up communities. And stop killing each other.

I can't begin to know how to solve all of the problems that face our world. These issues run deep and are complex and complicated. But I will continue to learn. I will continue to read, listen, and ask questions whenever I have the opportunity. I will continue to offer my help and support and do what I can to be an active force of change in my community... even if that just consists of my immediate circle around me. To me, recognizing that we are ALL impacted by the early deaths of young black men, is important. The effect that has on their families, friends, and the loss to our whole community of what that individual's impact on the world could have been. We're all one connected race, no matter where you live or what you believe in or who you love or the color of your skin. We need to start living that way.

It's not a myth. It's not just in people's heads. It's not something we can hide from. Racism is real and it exists and people are dying. I know I more regurgitated some of the news here rather than share my exact thoughts, but it's almost people I am a loss for words. I'm scared and I'm angry for my friends and the fear and prejudices that they have against them. As a white women, I was born with privilege. It's not my fault nor and nobody is saying that it is, but I recognize that and it is important for my friends of darker skin to know that and know that I am angry for them. I am scared for the children of the police officers killed and the black men killed this week and the prejudices they may grow up with. Something needs to change and it can start with you and me.

My friend Brick posted this to Facebook yesterday and I wanted to share it.

"Dr. King said, "Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they cannot communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated." He was speaking on segregation in the South, but I ask you this... Are you voluntarily living a segregated life, even from those who look like you? What community are you actively supporting before tragedy strikes at your front door? Let's build up our communities showing why we are magical and our lives matter! Let's support initiatives for job training and better education in our neighborhoods. Let's support our businesses! Let's get to know each other at the gas station, in grocery stores, at church, in the park."

It's a simple message and resonated with me. Let's show some love and community in our lives this weekend. And remember, black lives matter.


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