Over the last eight weeks, my sleep has been disturbed from time to time. I have burst into tears at certain images and words. Or at nothing at all. I've felt hopeless, impassioned, exhausted, motivated, triumphant, and defeated on repeat. And I've gone between needing to take time away from work to putting in overtime emotional labor because my day job as a Diversity & Inclusion practitioner is especially critical in moments like this one. And I am one person. And this is one of countless such moments. Can you even imagine our collective torment over so many centuries?
Despite having lived all my 30 years as a Black woman and worked for most of my HR career in Diversity & Inclusion, I feel like I've had more conversations about race (outside of my circle) in the last month than ever before. If you're a subscriber, you saw in yesterday's that it had been 109 days since Breonna Taylor was killed. Well, today makes 110 days. With no level of accountability for the men who took her life. We have to do better. We must keep saying her name.
Reading the details of Breonna's case or watching footage of George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery's murders is triggering. It's maddening. It's nauseating. And it has happened over and over and over. But something feels different this time. Individuals and organizations that have never said a mumbling word about racism are speaking out. People all over the world are demonstrating in solidarity. And I am allowing myself to have some hope that the waves being made right now will amount to a tide strong enough to cleanse our system and society of racism. It will not happen overnight, though. Or even this year. This will take concerted, intentional effort over time.
Right now, a bright global spotlight is illuminating the reality that Black people have had to live and die with for centuries. And we can't let it dim. We can't let the clamor quiet down or the energy drop. We have to keep applying pressure. We have to assert with words and back up with action that all Black lives matter. This includes Black trans lives. I could get into intersectionality but that's a chat for another day.
[click_to_tweet tweet="'It’s taken my father’s time, my mother’s time, my uncle’s time, my brothers’ and my sisters’ time, my nieces and my nephew's time. How much time do you want for your progress?' - James Baldwin, 1989" quote="'It’s taken my father’s time, my mother’s time, my uncle’s time, my brothers’ and my sisters’ time, my nieces and my nephew's time. How much time do you want for your progress?' - James Baldwin, 1989"]
Black people have waited far, far too long to feel safe and included in America. Quite frankly, we deserve. Our future children deserve. Our ancestors deserve. My mother and her parents all died without realizing the dream of a country that systematically valued and protected them. My grandfather put his life on the line as a soldier and came back home to be treated like an enemy. My mother endured chronic autoimmune illness and the prejudice and apathy of medical professionals who dismissed her pain because of her skin color. My father immigrated to this country over 30 years ago to build a life that he worries can be taken for absolutely no reason.
We need allies and resources to keep showing up beyond just the next few weeks and months. Now that we have your attention, I can't think of a more worthy use of your time at home. Educate yourself and hold the people in your life accountable. Think about the legacy you want to leave and whether your actions are aligned with it. There are several resources floating around and I'm not going to reinvent the wheel but will point you to a few.
- Swipe through this post for resources to read, watch, and study, where to donate, and a few accounts to follow.
- Use this email template to hold organizations you deal with accountable.
- Visit Until Freedom and call and email your Kentucky officials to demand justice for Breonna Taylor.
- Call Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer at (502) 574-2003
- Call Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron at (502)696-5300
- Call Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder at (502) 574-7111
This work is extensive and tiring. But it can be much less so if we each do our part and amplify each other's voices. Take action from this post. Share it with everyone you know. Thanks for reading!