The last week in my city has been heartbreaking. So many things to witness in Minneapolis of sadness. Perhaps from the homicide of George Floyd. His homicide. His murder. At the hands of those who are meant to ‘protect and serve’. But this was a breaking point. There are too many names to cry out so we cry out his, where the earth shattered for us and we could no longer take the injustice. And only after watching an 8 minute video of murder do we finally scream. So yes, we scream his name.
Today I attended a protest where the cries were loud and in sync:
“Say his name”.
“What’s his name?”
Everyone responded. Together. In unison.
Something I’ve learned about George Floyd is at 7 years old he wanted to be a supreme court judge. He wanted to hold a gavel to help people listen. He said if people didn’t listen to him in his position he would ask the guard to take them out. He would use his gavel on the desk and everybody would be quiet.
He wanted people to listen at seven years old, and he begged the officers who murdered him to listen, only a short time ago.
What’s his name?
I pray, hope, and personally will take action so his name is the last one we cry out. Because right now we are crying out his name, but countless others have died. The ones in the media, and the thousands of silent ones who’ve died at the hands of police brutality and injustice.
Yes thousands. Hundreds of thousands.
I will scream into the sky, “Say their names, Say all their names”.
We can’t, we don’t know all of them. But we do know his and his name has become a gavel on our country. It’s become a clunking sound of broken wood on this American dream, waking us up to the lie. This dream of a country of the free and brave only lives for the few and privileged.
His murder, his torture, his crying out. At 7 years old this young person wanted, needed, deserved to be listened to. And his life ended with a knee on his neck, strangling him.
I want to be so clear. The end of his life was torture. I witnessed what all of us did.
Which is why this uprising has happened, as needed. And could’ve happened so many times before.
Less than 40 years ago Michael Donald was lynched in Alabama.
He was tortured, beat, and hung from a tree.
The perpetrators were KKK, and arrested.
They were not police officers.
We don’t question police. They are meant to protect and serve. We don’t ask or question, how many of those officers operating to protect humanity are also racist, and are using or invoking their power in unjust ways.
Only one week ago George Floyd was lynched in front of witnesses begging for his release, asking to check his pulse. A public lynching. In 2020.
A public lynching.
And anyone who is shocked by this, please be less surprised. It’s been happening for way longer than we’ve been willing to admit.
I, as a white person, will wake up, and speak out.
All of this is uncomfortable. Perfect. Be uncomfortable for awhile. We need to because we’ve been sitting in our white, sterile, fucking rooms too long. It’s time to own our pristine world of privilege, and do our best to stand with our POC who deserve more than equality.
We built this country on the backs of First Nations. Their land. We abducted POC from their country to bring them here to create wealth for us living as slaves.
The tides must turn. They must turn. They need to fucking turn.
This isn’t a melting pot, never was. Immigrants came over in the early years and they had to fight to gain “white” status. Not long ago the Irish, Jewish, Italian, Polish, communities were downgraded until they reached “white” status. And they all did what they needed to do to arrive, until the false idea of a melting pot became what we built our history on.
Our history was never true because we didn’t include anyone who didn’t appear white. You might be whatever country you came from as long as you showed up as white.
We have denigrated people by their color and gender since the very beginning of this country. It was actually written into our constitution.
I’m incensed by America. I’d rather be anywhere than here right now but I understand. I have a chance to be a piece of the change. The generations who created this dumpster fire is connected to me, and I’ve got an opportunity to step up and help put out the fire, if possible. I’m a part of this.
This is my white voice. And I’m sharing here because a lot of people in my life are white. I’m hoping you might hear my point of view and understand. But more importantly, my voice has been loud and proud for way too long so I encourage you (all white people reading) to do the five following things, they are things I’m doing as well:
- Pick up reading material on anti-racism or from POC authors. Here’s what I’ve grabbed up. (White Fragility, How to be an an Anti- Racist, The Fire Next Time, Where to Begin)
- Don’t diversify your feed. Bullshit. It’s posturing. And it’s rude. Pay attention to who you already follow and unfollow people who are racist. Also, follow new people who have ideas of growth, understanding, and intersect with racism in a way to end the systematic operation of racism in everyday life. People you connect with, and you’re excited about following, not people to help you look less racist.
- Listen, and learn. It’s important to listen and learn the lessons being taught to us as white people right now. We need to pay attention. This doesn’t mean we can’t speak. I’m doing it now. But it’s important to check yourself when you do and ask if it’s for your benefit or for the support of POC. Right now posts encouraging more of their voices is paramount and your voice needs to be in the background.
- Practice activism daily. Doing something everyday to encourage #blacklivesmatter and don’t stop, ever. Don’t stop. We can’t let things “normalize”. We must continue this evolution of change. Normal is what got us to this place and we can’t go back.
- Be Involved. In the current culture, give your time, money, space (either personally or digitally), and heart to those who need you and right now it’s POC.