I’ve been reflecting on an important message I’ve recently heard echoed in many forms from many of my black and brown friends. Drastically simplified, the message I’m feeling is this…
While the social and political crisis of the nation has indeed birthed a new — and greatly needed — breed of vocal angry white activists, this new sense of commitment and passionate resolve to fight for justice and equality is just that — NEW. The root of the problems that we NEW activists fight in the name of, are not.
The passion we NEW activists bring to the table is genuine. For the first time in our lives we truly feel that ALL of us are threatened. The entire human race is in peril. This very visible — and well publicized — activism has a less talked about implication. It’s serves as an active demonstration of “white lives matter”. It was not until white lives were in the cross-hairs of the powers that be, that ALL lives began to matter.
We are in shock, disbelief and fear. For our friends and neighbors that do not experience white privilege, none of this is new or surprising. These undesirable and stress provoking emotions represent the daily reality of those whose voices remain unheard and whose rights remain unprotected.
Today’s NEW activist is yesterday’s silent witness. As we NEW activists march through our mostly white neighborhoods demanding equality and justice — we did not stop to recognize that the protest route was paved with gentrification. While the new presidential regime has popped our — mine included — white privilege comfort bubble, we fail to acknowledge that the communities we now march for have never been comfortable. Never been safe. Never been heard. Never been valued. Never mattered. And we are largely to blame.
Trump, nor his appointees, nor his supporters created the America we experience today, we did. And until our own comforts were threatened on November 8th, we did nothing. We fail to acknowledge that our silence has not only prevented progress, it has created an America that allowed greed and white male supremacy into power. In failing to take ownership and accountability for our lack of action, our silence, our apathy, we can not truly begin to heal the wounds we have created. In failing to recognize and apologize and solemnly wear to do better, do more, without fail and without respite, we cannot begin to rebuild trust.
While actions may speak louder than words, I believe sometimes words are indeed what is needed most. The wounds we have inflicted are deep and will not be healed quickly. But I’d like to take a first step in creating a space where, with time and continued action, healing can occur.
I’m sorry I was silent when I should have had the strength to shout.
I’m sorry I was still when I should have had the resolve to march.
I’m sorry I was calm when I should have been outraged.
I’m sorry I was resting when I should have fought.
I’m sorry I denied the truth when I should have said I’m sorry.
I will no longer be silent.
I will no longer be still.
I will no longer be calm.
I will no longer rest.
I will no longer deny.
Sometimes words are needed.
If you read this far, I encourage you to take self-inventory and reflection and communicate with those you love. #LoveAction