Wow. It has been challenging to untangle thoughts into words for the last two weeks. Deep into month three of a worldwide pandemic and unprecedented shelter in place order, a long coming race revolution erupted after the tragic murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th. I wrote about my feelings here on the blog, and I honestly struggled with how to articulate my emotions and responsibilities onto the page, while actively seeking more empathetic knowledge on a topic I thought I already knew a great deal about. I struggled with the right approach as not to offend anyone if I unwittingly said the wrong thing, in the wrong way, to the wrong audience. So, I positioned myself in a safe place to observe, absorb, and go inward; leaning into my family to witness the protests, riots, marches, speeches, and that horrifying moment of police brutality itself that sparked these fires, literal and otherwise. Everyone learns and grows in different ways, and there is no right or wrong way to process what was, and continues, to take place. I felt the history we were watching unfold was unreal, surreal, infuriating, heartbreaking, and ultimately terrifying. And something I discovered I knew absolutely nothing about.
Educating and acting is essential, but acknowledging, empathizing, and accountability is also paramount. Hopefully, every generation in this great nation has seen, recognized, and honored the horrors of our past and, in the words of the late Maya Angelou, vows to ” know better and do better.”
Scrolling to engage and gather information is one thing, but action is the true test of the person. Below I’ll list some of the resources that I have found enlightening, moving, and instrumental in understanding the past so that we can unlock what the future and generations to come can carry on.
If you are not familiar with the work of founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson, he should be at the top of your list. This interview with The New Yorker will bring you deep inside the cancer of systemic racism in our country, and why Stevenson believes our current unbroken criminal justice and law enforcement systems need to break. I first heard this podcast a couple of years ago and have been in awe of his work ever since.
Beloved author,podcaster, social entrepreneur, and fellow Minnesotan, Nora McInerny
has the most eloquent yet awkward way of getting to the heart of the ugly, uncomfortable, and unacceptable. In her latest episode of the “Terrible, Thanks for Asking‘”podcast about Policing and Racial Trauma, Nora hands over the reins to MPR’s Angela Davis, and the discussions are, well, let’s just say, enlightening and educational. There is also a very comprehensive list of fantastic interviews and articles on Angela’s page.
And, ANYTHING by Jane Elliott. Literally, anything. Search her hashtag on social media as well.
In addition to the above, stop scrolling and start reading. Learn, absorb, ask questions, and put that information and knowledge into action. Start uncomfortable conversations, seek out new charities to donate to, expand your world, and do your part to make it a better place for everyone. There’s lots of work to be done and everyone, no matter what side of the aisle your heart and mind may sit on, needs to be part of the conversation by using their power to vote and stand up for what truly matters.
Cheers to tomorrow,