BY T. JEWEL
An Important Coffee Chat: Black Lives Matter
I’ve been collecting my thoughts while away from my blog—it’s been a busy weekend to a busy week—but while I’ve had the privilege of dealing with my life, many people have been fighting for theirs. Too many black people have died at the hands of law enforcement, and we need solutions. This isn’t about politics. This is about giving people their right to be safe and live their best lives.
First of all, Black lives matter. Period. How is that a debate? I’ll never understand.
To be totally honest with you, thanks to my job, I’ve been doing a lot of equity work, but I still don’t know how to navigate through this as a white woman. However, while I’ll never fully understand what my black community members are going through, I want to be an ally. If you’re like me and you aren’t out there protesting, please check out these articles to help educate yourself:
Second of all, there are towns and cities doing a good job to address these issues. Police officers in Flint, Michigan are protesting alongside their community. Some communities are at least acknowledging the problem. But there are some cities where, according to hyperbolic and anecdotal stories, numerous people are looting and rioting. As I was driving out of Milwaukee this weekend, police were blocking off exits on the highway and they set a “State of Emergency.” A few things we need to remember is:
1-Most protests are being done so peacefully. However, things get out of hand sometimes. There will always be bad apples. There will be people taking advantage of this situation. There is violence happening on both sides!!!!!!!
2-If more people listened—if the people in our government and law enforcement would listen rather than argue about EVERYTHING—then maybe kneeling at a football game would’ve been enough. As of the writing of this post, it is 2020, and we are still in a pandemic. No one should have to go out and protest to protect themselves from the people that are supposed to be protecting them
3- Don’t tell a black person how they should feel or react towards this. They are grieving. You can choose to be empathetic and grieve with them and stand with them, or you can choose to stay seated with the oppressor.
4-Don’t let the burden of educating you be on PoC (People of Color).
5-If you think the violence and hate needs to stop, share your love. Maybe ask your black friends how they’re doing.
If you do not stand up for those who need help, you are in the wrong. White silence is compliance with violence. If you can’t, or don’t feel safe protesting because of this pandemic:
-Sign petitions and VOTE
-Spend your money to support locally owned, black businesses, if you’re fortunate enough to afford it.
We can all do our part to ensure the safety of black lives, but we all have to be empathetic, and actively love our neighbors. Being kind and showing your love doesn’t mean denouncing these protests because there are people setting fires to buildings. Showing your love means holding yourself, communities, and law enforcement accountable for the deaths of people. Pray for our black brothers and sisters. They are STILL hurting from generations of trauma and abuse.
Happy Caffeination, Friends! Stay safe, healthy, and as always, BE KIND!