Welcome to both my black and non-black brothers and sisters. I have written this message of unity for you both but first I would like to address the non-black community.
Dear Non-Black People,
I know some of you are confused right now. I know that some of you are not racist, and I also know that some of you feel hurt right now too.
This isn’t about looters or disrespecting the flag.
It never was … it was always about us using our rights as Americans and shining a light on parts of our country every one has been avoiding for years.
This is about being here today. Being here, in this exact moment, and admitting that what got us here as a country won’t get us where we are going.
This is about admitting that even if you are a 1st generation college student and come from poor neighborhoods like me, your skin color still carries more weight than that of your black friends and colleagues.
This is bigger than you.
This is about fighting for change in our country - everywhere. Not just in your house, your neighborhood, your church, or at your office.
It’s about dismantling an entire system that was built on the backs of slaves and their family members every day since January 1, 1863.
Take the time to let this moment sink in. Listen to Black Americans. They have a story to tell, and I promise you that it is real and raw. Take the time to educate yourself. With the access we have to information in today’s world, there’s no excuse anymore.
Here are 3 great reading lists you can start with today.
- A Black Lives Matter Movement Reading List
- Black Lives Matter Books to Get Educated About Racism
- 13 Books you Should Read about Black Lives
I feel called to tackle these tough conversations in a safe space, covering it from both perspectives. If you are seeking a guiding voice that can help you become engaged in these topics, you can sign up for my newsletter for updates on how we can move forward together. There, you will be a part of protecting courage and helping to shape powerful conversations that move us forward.
Now, I know this makes you uncomfortable. Hopefully, it makes you sad and angry too. Truth be told, it is sad. It is painful.
But if you look closer, you will see something beautiful. We have Americans of all races, cultures, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, and gender identities coming together to exercise their American rights for black Americans across the nation because Black Lives Matter.
It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
I hope you see it too.
I hope you will stop focusing on what you perceive to be the few bad apples and instead focus on the larger picture.
I want you to pause and really take a look at my beautiful black brothers and sisters in the same way you look at your own family, and not as your enemy. I am begging you to be willing to open your mind and be willing to understand another point of view.
I hope as you wake up and see what I see, you will find the courage to share what you have learned with your friends and family - because they will follow your lead if you stand up.
“ I am not an expert. I am just a light-skinned biracial woman who grew up in a predominately black community called PG county right outside of D.C. (shout out to Kevin Durant, you da real MVP) who served in the Navy, and is using her privilege to shed a light on both perspectives during this historical moment in our country.”
Dear Black People,
I hear you, and I see you.
I feel your pain, and I am shedding tears right next to you.
I get it.
I am angry too.
I want to yell and scream, and I also want to isolate myself in a safe bubble within the black community right now. I feel broken, and to be honest I have never experienced so many emotions at one time in my entire life.
It breaks my heart to see so much pain in you, yet we can’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
Now is not the time to push non-black people away.
Some non-black people are listening, and some are actually “waking up” and starting to think about our future. They have heard us throw around words like, “woke” and “equity” for years, but I don’t think some of them really knew what it meant. I honestly don’t think some of them understand - which of course is a problem and is the exact point we are trying to make.
But this time feels different.
Some are actually taking steps to educate themselves on systemic racism, racial bias, and the term intersectionality. Now is the time for us to dig deep and find the courage to reach our hand out to those who want to pull us up. I am not asking you to forget the past. If you are anything like me, I know that I am definitely not ready to forgive just yet, but I am willing to put my hand out and unite for change.
We can’t lose momentum.
Now is not the time to shame or intentionally make the non-black community feel guilty for not knowing or speaking up sooner. We must remember that they were a part of the system too, and some of them don’t have the same vocabulary as we do. They need time to wrap their head around this so they can speak out and join us. If we pass shame and guilt onto them, they will retreat, and we can not afford for them to retreat right now.
We can’t lose momentum.
I know I am asking a lot of you, because if you are anything like me, you may be going through cycles of anger, sadness, and gratitude every hour of the day. I have also found myself going into “gotcha mode” - allowing the years of pain to bubble to the surface and point fingers because I always thought certain people had a racial bias toward me.
I want to be better.
I want to have the tough conversations we’ve been waiting for. I want to give people the opportunity to understand our pain - so we can develop a plan for change together.
If you have an interest in joining me in this unity, you can sign up for my newsletter for updates on how we can move forward together. There you will be a part of protecting courage, and helping to shape powerful conversations that move us forward.
Thank you for listening and stay strong my friend.