I hope you’ve had a chance to process what happened over the weekend and have given yourself space to be with people who love you and care about your well being. Life should not be lived in a continual place of fighting for self preservation. Everyday people of color, immigrants from all backgrounds, those who aren’t male/straight/abled bodied are fighting for equity and to be VALUED. You would think that in 2017 this kind of racism, sexism & straight forward hatred wouldn’t exist.
Yet it does and we must continue to stand with one another. Even from within the progressive movement, we remind one another to give space to those who don’t look like us. I’m reminded as an AAPI woman to look to those who aren’t like me to also be in the story and to highlight their work/accomplishments. We are not perfect and we strive to be better. It requires all of us to call out our friends and to be conscious of correcting mistakes. We can’t avoid our history and we must take action to protect one another.
A friend shared her story of being spit on & verbally abused while traveling in a full subway car in a large metropolitan city. This is unacceptable. We can’t be afraid to stand with one another and myself being half white, I look to my white allies/partners/accomplices to be brave. I understand that that it takes courage to stand up when the circumstances can be dangerous or putting yourself in bodily harm. You can be a part of the solution by having those difficult and awkward AF conversations with the people in your lives who don’t consider themselves racist but yet demonstrate that they are racists. Senator Boxer recalls a time in her youth when her mother made her confront a friend who she knew did something wrong. Its our fear of confrontation and what it can bring that causes us to let things slide. In our head and in our heart, we know it’s wrong and standing up for what’s right can make a difference. How do you go about having these conversations if you’re white? By meeting people halfway and not attacking them. This level of racism didn’t happen overnight so having one conversation isn’t going to eradicate this mentality. The responsibility can’t be on only communities of color to have these conversations.
I applaud the parents who are teaching their children about the weekend events and how society can rear its ugly head. Those conversations are helping to create adults more aware of the injustices in the world who are ready to face it as well as combat it. Raising resilient children who are self-confident and empathetic to others is already challenging. Add in this kind of environment and it makes me say an additional prayer. Fortunately, there are resources where you can find books/articles that can teach young people and adults how to have conversations about race, gender, class so much thanks to my colleague, Amber Goodwin for organizing it.
As little people get older, especially young girls who are maturing in adulthood, I’m glad to see that Teen Vogue is leading the way in using its platforms to have a discussion on racism. Earlier in the weekend, they devoted their twitter account to discuss Charlottesville and racism instead of live tweeting the Teen Choice awards. They used this time to also share where people could donate or show their support of the counter protestors and Black students returning to UVA. They also have an article on their website on how to help. Being a teenager is already hard so having media outlets talking about these tough issues to this demographic deserves all the props.
Please be kind to yourself. This year has been brutal and it continues to wear us down mentally, physically, & emotionally. Be with your tribe, talk with a professional about your feelings, process your emotions and gather your strength. There will be times when it will seem too much and that’s when you need the support of friends and loved ones to tell you that we will prevail. I recognize that there are challenges from within my community and any rage that I feel needs to be channeled into productive outlets. To alleviate the stress, use these relaxation techniques from the Mayo Clinic.
Thank you for reading/sharing and feel free to drop me a note in the comments section!