My response to the death of George Floyd
We are living in an intense time and we all have our own process for working through this emotional intensity. There is no right or perfect way. My hope is that you are having conversations, sharing your thoughts, fears and inspirations and taking things one day at a time. My intention today is to share where I am and invite conversation. What I have to say may not align with your beliefs. Taking in different points of view helps us grow and I am open to the changes we can create together. George Floyd’s inhumane 8 minute and 46 second death under the knee of Derek Chauvin is unconscionable. Another precious life lost in a seemingly unnecessary and unchallenged act of brute force. How is it even possible that one human would want to treat another human, or any living being, in this careless and brutal manner? How is it even possible that the other officers on the scene watched it happen and didn’t speak up?! How can this keep happening? I’ve spent the past week, like millions of us have, feeling deeply. The cycle of painful grief for George, his family and all the other precious lives cut short in this way, anger about the status quo, fear about the violence and unrest, and the overwhelm of how to create change have spun out within me. I’ve felt badly that I haven’t taken a stronger public stand sooner, and at the same time, I’ve needed to internalize it all so that I can create meaningful change intentionally. This is just my process. I’ve sat in the center of the discomfort and pain, just as I have about other atrocities against humans that have been brought to our consciousness over the years like sexual abuse, school shootings, and religious persecution. I have cried, been outraged and listened to what everyone was saying around me and what my body was telling me directly. For me, discomfort is a sign that I need to let go of my ego and what I think I know and get curious. In this case, I needed to ask myself hard questions:
Do I value lives differently?
Do I think racially?
Am I aware enough of what others go through in life?
What do I believe we need to change to get out of this status quo?
Most importantly, what do I stand for?
I stand for love. It isn’t naïve. It’s what makes us human. We either live in love or we live in fear. When we live in fear, we live in our differences, we lack, we need, we control, we manipulate, we survive. It’s ok until someone gets hurt. When we are hurting inside, we hurt on the outside. We suffer and others suffer. What I believe we are being called to learn now is how to identify our fears, face them, heal them and love on the inside so we can love all humans on the outside. Again, it isn’t naïve. Love is what makes us human. I believe, we have lost our way because we still believe we are different as humans. At our foundation, despite color, gender, religion, economic or political views, we are only human. Instead of honoring our differences and understanding how we are better together, we fear them. We size people up based on the conditioning and messaging we’ve learned over the years about color, gender, religion, education and experiences and determine, in a fraction of a second, if we fear them or are better than them. The hierarchical structure of value of humans divides us. We are humans, period. We are more alike than we are different, and until we go deeper and question what we were taught and what we continue to believe about other humans, things will stay the same. People will suffer at the hands of others. Until we take the time to learn how to love ourselves on the inside, we will hurt internally and possibly hurt others externally with our words and actions. Is that the life you were called to live? No judgment. We all have the power to look within and create change physically, emotionally and spiritually. What are you being called to do? I have spent the last week learning, talking with my Black friends, reading articles and posts by people with different skin tone than me, and listening to the collective conversations about racism. I have challenged myself to go below the surface of what I believe. I have learned more about the economic and political roots of racism and oppression in general. I have also spent more time loving myself, growing my compassion for self and others to be a better human. I will do this for the rest of my life. This week, I am also donating to the anti-racism movement and voting for change in several different ways. If you are called to learn and do more, here are some great resources and ideas for taking action:
This book Love is Letting Go of Fear is one of my favorites that I have revisited over the years
This video by Andréa Ranae Johnson is a great place to start exploring how you can use your influence to close the racial gap.
Learn about white supremacy culture and racism, and do your inner work to dismantle it where it lives in you. Here are some books to explore:
- How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
We may have different views and I honor yours. Let's have a conversation and see how we can create change together. I stand for love. It isn't naive. It’s what makes us human.
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