Monday, June 1, 2020

Up to us




In some ways, I feel right back at the beginning.

Those first few days of realising that we were in for the long haul with COVID 19 and that we have no idea how it might end.

So gripped in fear that I am paralysed by it.

Spending hours upon hours scrolling social media and the internet to try and get information, to try and understand.

As if it were possible to comprehend all of the pain and anger, the division and violence that has occurred since the murder of George Floyd.

It has been almost a week and the police brutality that I have seen has broken me.

But it can't.

For if we still have far to go with this pandemic, it is nothing compared to the battle of dismantling racism. Racism, inequality, which is stitched in the fabric our Western and capitalist societies. Someone is always "better off" than the other, that is just "how it is."

It is why so many have been blind to their own beliefs for so long because they were literally born into them. It's too close to see.

And it is too close. Too close when police officers shoot a peaceful protester in the face with rubber bullets or Taser or tear-gas a young girl.

It is too close when members of the press are fired upon and arrested.

When politicians incite not protect. When they do nothing to quell or unify. Or simply nothing at all. "Let the fires burn."

Several times this week, I have wondered if there are elements to what is happening that make it similar to what it must have been like at the beginning of the rise of Nazism. So many events in so little time and the public cannot handle it, so they simply side with the easiest "solution." The winning party. One with plenty of propaganda, whether it be fact or fiction.

Even while humanity falls apart.

We can't let it. We can't. Not again. Not again and again and again. And again and again and again.

In an exchange with my friend Patricia this morning, she asked: "Where are the voices of strength and guidance?" and I responded, "Who is going to bring us all together again?"

Which brought about another idea that had been rolling about in my brittle brain recently, that of President Barack Obama's comment during one of his recent graduation speeches: "“If the world’s going to get better, it’s going to be up to you."

It's up to us. No one is going to help. There is no "leader" in sight. Please don't turn away. I know it is painful and frightening but nothing near what it must be for the black community who lives through cultural, societal and economic discrimination every single day because of the color of their skin that they were born into. That is not a choice.

But how we move forward collectively is.

I don't know what that looks like but I do believe that it is possible.

And that is the most hope that I have felt in months. Perhaps I am too naive. But if the pandemic has taught me anything, it is that there is much good in this world. We can unite around a cause and we can find each other through love.

Please. Don't think, do. The change starts within me. The change starts within you.




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If you have not yet listened to one of my audio recordings of my posts, this might be a good one to start.

You can find the english version: here.

Pour mes amis francophones...je suis désolée, ce n'est franchement pas au top, mais voilà: c'est ici.





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HOW YOU CAN HELP

Sign a petition:

Justice for George Floyd on change.org

#JusticeforFloyd on act.colorofchange.org


Donate:

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund on gofundme.com

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Black Lives Matter

Communities United Against Police Brutality

The Minnesota Freedom Fund

National Bail Out Fund - Free Black Mamas


Educate yourself:

Black Women Radicals and AAFC Solidarity reading list

"Algorithms of Opression" bookclub via womenscenterforcreativework.com

"On becoming anti-racist" on cupofjoe.com

I thought this was very much worth the watch. Truly helpful:

Trevor Noah speaking on recent events.


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These are, quite obviously, my personal emotions and thoughts. I realise well that I might be misinformed no matter how well-intentioned. So please, feel free to respond in the comments or by email. 

It just felt necessary to do something on top of what I have suggested above. 
Something to try and get to a more positive place so that I can continue to take action.
Continue to learn. 

For days I did not write because I again felt as I did in this post at the beginning of the pandemic.

How could I find the words to contribute? That could move us forward? Then as now...

"I have exactly the words that I need. 

They are:

I miss you.

I love you.

Are you ok? "

Please let me know how you are and what your experience of this terrifying time has been.

With much Love and Gratitude,

Heather

****

This post is dedicated to Leonard Wells, My Buddy.





18 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you found the words to post; we treasure your words and photos! I am ok but, as you know, haven't immersed myself too deeply as even looking a little is SO upsetting. Thank you for the reminder that it's up to us and providing links and things to check out! A quote just came to me: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can; begin it; boldness has genius, power, and magic in it". I do believe that our thoughts have energy, so thoughts about doing better or contributing to the greater good are powerful. Everyone is doing the best they can in these awful times; I am trying not to judge (myself or others) and pray that good will come out of everything that is happening. Also: "I miss you, too; love you, too; ok!".

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    1. Yes Sister, thoughts are so incredibly powerful. And they are what will sustain us through in the longterm I believe and hope!

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  2. We are the change, no matter how painful or difficult. No matter how long it takes;it's not a one week, one month project. I dipped my toes in 1956, started to march and more when returned home from Peace Corps in 63, remember tear guess in DC in 68, and still at it despite being in a wheelchair now. I don't khow I could live with my self, die by myself if I hadn't/wasn't.

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  3. Thank you very much for the information about ways to help.

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    1. You are welcome. They have shifted by now but it was a start.

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  4. Right again, Heather. The change comes from each of us. And many have been working on it for years. Living it for years. I know you do. Onward.

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  5. p.s. Thank you for all of those excellent links. <3

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  6. It's hard to know what to do. At any other time, we would have joined a local vigil, but because of the pandemic, we stayed away in order to fight another day. In the meantime, however, we are making donations and supporting local candidates who support police reform. Thank you for putting yourself out there.

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    1. That's awesome. It is all awesome. And this particular corner of France is very different right now than the pandemic in the States.

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  7. Exactly! Until Black lives matter, this world is broken. xx

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  8. again and again and again they beat, again and again and again we protest. Hoping some day the world gets better!

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  9. I have a family story to share with you. My father and his father were both Baptist ministers. My grandfather welcomed Black members into his church, baptizing them in the same full immersion baptismal pool as everyone else. He had crosses burnt on his yard because of it. My father was called as pastor to a Black Baptist Church in Newark, NJ during the Civil Rights riots in the 60's. So you'd think they would never be racist, right? My grandfather LOVED telling racist jokes, which always made me cringe, but as a child in a strict Baptist home, one did not ever correct your elders. A few months ago, while I was visiting my dad, he started to tell me one. I stopped him and told him he could not tell me that joke (which of course I had heard before) because it was racist and wrong. He stopped, and said, "oh, you're right. My dad told those jokes, and I guess I always thought it was ok" He was quiet for a very long time after that. He's 92. Some things take a life time to un-learn, and because his memory is only sharp when it comes to the past, and not when it comes to what happened yesterday, I fear this is something he will never un-learn. Like you, this stops with me. Thanks for all your links and information in the past few weeks. We all have a lot to learn, and un-learn.

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    1. obviously, this was meant for your latest post, but I clicked on the wrong spot...

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