I have had considerable difficulty properly expressing my very troubled feeling over the murder of George Floyd. After a while, one can become numb to this happening to a black person again and again and again. It is a fact that when something happens over and over that people become desensitized and don’t care anymore. There are some who promote this kind of strategy. It has been 400 years of this oppression, devaluation, and disregard to the health, education, and wealth building of the black population. Unlike other populations, black people did not come here by choice. They didn’t come here to find a better life; they didn’t come here for economic reasons other than to benefit the pockets of the slave owners. 400 years!!! Think about that. 400 years!!! And we still find the black race to be devalued, discounted, and treated not as equals but as something less.
My personal experiences growing up exposed me to witness many injustices. Those injustices resulted in several periods of unrest like what we are seeing today. The period in junior high and high school was a very difficult period. I didn’t understand the backlash that we experienced. Those moments jaded me for years about seeing blacks as possible friends or people I could trust. I felt awful about those feelings especially after seeing my Dad as a union leader integrate the apprenticeship program at the union in 1966. That was a real feat and highly regarded. I was so torn to feel the way I did. In college I decided I had to change my ways and so I chose to freely discuss my feelings with many of my black peers to better understand the black experience. It has been a lifelong journey for me. It is imperative for me to enhance my awareness and understanding for the rest of my life. I will still never fully understand the depth of the experiences of black people. I am not black. But it is my moral duty to do what I can to be more aware and supportive of doing what I can do personally and through my work to make things right.
I am deeply angered about how the oppression and disregard seems to be growing. Black joggers being shot and killed, a black bird watcher being judged and harassed and threatened with police action, and now George Floyd. It hurts to see the undercurrents playing out to try and reinforce the stereotype. I am pissed. So, what do we do??? At this moment, this is not about all lives as some will quote. We are not all experiencing this together. This is about Black Lives. There is no quick fix. It must start with talking openly about the history of oppression and the real impacts that exist today. We can only start with ourselves. If we think too generally, we will miss the opportunity. We need to have the uncomfortable conversation. We must increase our awareness AND we must SPEAK OUT when we see injustice. If we stay silent that silence is a weapon. It is a very effective weapon. We as people and as an organization need to stand up tall and speak loudly to change the course. It is not just stating that you aren’t a racist but making it clear we are antiracist. Cinnaire is in a very optimal position to do just that. If we believe our Why, that all people deserve the opportunities provided by living in a healthy community, then we will have the ability to change the course and dialog. We have the tools and knowledge to make that happen. We have identified several resources to use to understand and communicate clearly on this issue regarding Black Lives. The question is, do we have the willingness for the heavy lift. Do We? Do You?