This is the time for long awaited justice. To my friends and colleagues in the Black community, I stand with you and I hope that we as a country honor George Floyd and others by creating true and lasting change.
I’ve heard it said that, “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
In my life I’ve never questioned the truth of this statement or felt more strongly the need for that “bend towards justice” to happen. For me, it started with the video and George Floyd’s scream “I can’t breathe.” I can’t get out of my mind the sight of a police officer choking the life out of a Black person. For me, the scenario was horrific and beyond troubling in its symbolism. I thought of Collin Kaepernick kneeling as a peaceful demonstration trying to raise awareness of this very situation – that being racism in all its forms and police brutality towards Black people. I also thought of how the other officers stood by and watched this atrocity, and how my community has stood by watching for far too long. It seems to me for Black people in America this has become part of their daily lived experience in one way or another. One of my basketball idols, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, is now a great author and scholar and he recently wrote “Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere.”
As a trauma informed organization, Trillium Family Services has a commitment to nonviolence; we also have the understanding that hurt people are traumatized and, in this instance, we are talking about hundreds of years of trauma and oppression. It’s worth noting that Black people are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police officers despite making up only 13% of the total population. Great change and learning happen in times of disequilibrium. But it won’t happen with us sitting idly by. Myself and others in my community need to stop using our “privilege of silence” and assert our roles as allies to communities of color, giving voice to the atrocities that we see, identifying them as acts of aggression and violence, and then using the power we have to dismantle racism. A friend recently shared “racism is a concept that was created and institutionalized by White people. We have a direct responsibility to do all that we can to end it.”
My sincere hope is that this disruptive moment does not get wasted and that we truly shine the light on racism, in all its forms. All of us have the equal opportunity to just breathe. I hope we suspend judgment of those protesting and asking for change, and that we rush to long awaited justice in a way that truly bends the moral arc of the universe.