We have a problem Houston and every other city, state and country in the world. News flash, this is not a US problem it is a worldwide problem.
Prejudice (or as my 5th grade report called it Prejudism) abounds and we need to make some drastic changes or we will all peril in an “us against them” fight. The more we divide and decide someone is wrong because of their skin, religion, sexuality or nationality the less humanity there is for everyone.
I was raised to be a good person. My parents regularly exposed us to people different than us by culture and color. We didn’t travel but we had exchange students from around the world living with us for as long as I can remember. One student from India lived with us for years and was considered a part of the family.
My parents also taught us early to be involved and we gave our time to causes they believed in. My father was/is also quite an activist from his youth riding with the Freedom Fighters to leadership in teacher’s unions to now working with men coming out of incarceration and beginning new lives.
We tease my father all the time that the government must have a thick file on him. My dad spends a lot of time writing to Congressional Leaders, Council Members and even the President about how well or poorly he feels they are representing their constituents. I now believe there should be thick files with all of our names on them!
As I became a parent I too involved my children in causes that I feel are unequal burdens. We spent a lot of time working with homeless shelters, hunger programs and donation sites and I felt good about that.
My children each grew up as strong advocates in causes they felt were unjust and equality was sorely missing. From GLBTQ and women’s rights to marijuana decrimalization they have each been loud and vocal advocates.
I find myself here, in this moment thinking, all that is good, but it is so terribly incomplete. Good just isn’t good enough.
I don’t know if you are feeling the same way or not, but for me it is hard to hear that a black man doesn’t step out of his house without his ID for fear he may have to prove why he is walking in his own neighborhood. It is difficult for me to comprehend why a whole race is being blamed for a pandemic because it came from their region. And there will never be a time or reason that I can understand why someone would be killed for their skin color or sexuality.
As long as there are people deciding that their god, race, color, sexual preference or boarders are any better than another’s there is a whole bunch of work to be done.
This does not mean to drown yourself in shame because of what color your skin may or may not be. It is not to guilt you into marching or getting on a bullhorn to either state your position or post on social media a square you don’t thoroughly understand.
Guilt and shame do nothing positive and actually prohibit the ability to think clearly on how to move forward. We do not need people acting rashly to assuage their guilt, we need people to stop and think about the world they wish to live in.
There are so many issues in this world today that we need to address in all corners of the globe. I encourage you to take a look around at the world you live in and see it clearly for what it is and how things could be.
If you think change takes time – think again. In a matter of days we closed down a country and planet! We can do this with swift, thoughtful action and everyone becomes safer.
I encourage you to take some time to dream about the world you wish to live in and then take a step, just one step towards creating that. After that, take another. It can be something that you trumpet from your platform or a quiet letter to your senator or you might just read up on who your local sheriff is. Wherever you choose to make a difference, please start today and keep going.
We can make a difference by each taking action in our own space in our own way. As Mother Teresa says, “If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.”
Good just isn’t good enough anymore, we can and must do better.
Thank you #BlackLivesMatter movement for waking us all up to the challenges you have faced for ages and inspiring us all to have a dream that one day we will not judge people by anything but the content of their character.
Excuse me, I’ve got a letter to write!