This will not be my typical Tishspiration Tuesday post.
At least, not at the beginning. I have left my blog to be quiet for far too long again, and many, many things have happened. This will not be a short, pleasant read. I feel from the depths of my very soul that it is my duty to write this story, and I pray that it leaves my mind through my fingertips in the way I intend it to. To help. To start the necessary conversations we need to be having in our homes and with the human population. In case you are reading this in the future, and not in the present time, here are a few of the things I am referring to.
- Corona Virus or COVID-19 the Worldwide Pandemic
- Self Isolation or Self Quarantine
- Essential Frontline Medical workers went to war with COVID-19
- Essential workers became an everyday term for extraordinary people doing their jobs
- Stock markets crashing
- A brief drop in the price of gas
- Deferrals on payments of things like mortgages and car loans
- Working from home became mandatory
- Unemployment Rates Skyrocket
- Mental Illness Crisis
- Governments struggle to grasp the enormity of shutting down the world as we knew it
- Government handouts to help people cope in the midst of all of the above
- Murder Hornets
If you are needing to learn any more information about any of these topics, feel free to Google them. Make sure you search for 2020. Looking back on things, it seems like we had no warnings at all. We are here, in the midst of it, praying for things to get better. For some it has. For others, the pain goes too deep to feel like it could ever be okay again.
I listed #BlackLivesMatter last above, intentionally.
It is a movement that has come and gone numerous times, before many of us were even born, and will continue to be something that plagues us, as a different kind of pandemic, until we find the cure. I have listed it last, but please do not think that means I am listing it in a place of least importance. I am not. It is there because this is when it has affected me in 2020. This very week, not in the previous weeks and months. I may not have the list in exact chronological order because I am going from memory. Today is fresh in my mind. The last several weeks have been a blur of adjustment and trying to learn when to pay attention, and when to tune the daily news out.
Like many people around the world, I have done my best to adapt to the world I am living in today.
I don’t leave the house at the drop of a hat anymore. I plan trips to the grocery store twice a month and have limited my time outside of my home to a walk around the neighbourhood. Alone, with my music. I nod and say hello to my neighbours as we walk 2 metres or six feet apart from each other, go home, shut my door, and go about entertaining myself and keeping busy.
I have been successfully able to adapt to my husband suddenly having to work from home. We get along well; I am one of the lucky ones. Another reality is that since we are all in isolation is that violence behind closed doors is at an all time high.
I want to choose my words carefully as I write.
There is a whole lot of hurt, pain, grief, anger, rioting, and violence happening in the world this week. It has escalated past the boiling point, and can no longer be ignored. People are dying every day from the pandemic virus that is sweeping across the planet. They expect it to come in waves, and the people of our planet are struggling to cope with the losses of so many people. It does not discriminate, it just attacks.
It is the people, the people who are guilty of discrimination and targeting minorities that has finally boiled over like it has in the past. #BlackLivesMatter has been a movement under this name since hashtags became popular, but only now do I fully understand what it really means.
I am a white woman. So white that I almost glow in the dark.
I have led a sheltered life, which means that I have been living a life of white privilege.It doesn’t mean I am rich, or famous or haven’t had struggles in my life. It means I have not had to live in the fear of persecution, violence or death simply because of the colour of my skin.
Throughout my adult life, I continue to do my best to educate myself. I, too, was guilty of proclaiming that #AllLivesMatter, before I really knew what either term meant. I believe in equality and justice for all. Saying #BlackLivesMatter does NOT mean I am disregarding the rest of humanity. It means that this group of people, People Of Colour or POC, which is what I think is the politically correct term for the demographic, are in danger. (If this is incorrect, I am certain that it will be pointed out, and if so, I will edit after publishing).
I watch television shows. I watch for entertainment, for exposure to things I would never experience, and to learn. As a student of the internet, I constantly sign up for challenges and webinars. As a network marketer, working with social media as my virtual customer base, I have allowed many people to interact with me. Some I know, some I have met only online.
I do my best to treat everyone as equals.
I am certain that I have failed in this, more than once, because I am not perfect. To be human is to err. It is inevitable that I will say or do something that will cause someone to have hurt feelings. It is not intentional, ever. I sometimes blunder into places I should never try to go. Maybe you are thinking I am doing this as you are reading this post. I encourage you to keep reading until the end before passing judgment.
Today I attended a rally. It was the first time I have ever gone to a protest. It was peaceful and I am eternally grateful that it was.
For a few minutes this morning, I debated attending the march. I know that there have been murders and shootings in my city, just like in all cities and even smaller places all around the world. I thought, what if something bad happens? What if I get hurt? What if I get arrested? If you know me, the chances of me being arrested are slim to none, but with escalated emotions and the possibility of a mob mentality running hand in hand with protesting and rioting, it would not be completely impossible. I debated this for an hour or more, searching within to find the right answer. I already knew what it would be, but I had to say it out loud, to make it real.
If I let fear take over, then I will not overcome what so many POC face every time they leave their homes.
I would be saying the words, but not taking action. This year, with all the chaos happening around me, I drew my line in the sand. It was time to be present in something that matters to me. Because I believe in equality, I must stand up against inequality. I must take courage against my fears, and step forth to take a stand for something I believe in.
So, I told my husband, that I was going to go. The rally would be during his workday, and he would not be able to join me. I had errands to run while I was out, but I wanted him to know what I was doing, and where I was going. Just in case. COVID-19 does not discriminate, and neither do bullets. He thought I was being silly when I said I loved him before leaving, but he also took the time to watch the video which set me in action. We talked about George Floyd and the uprisings, and he had a hard time watching the unnecessary, unjustified murder of a black man by four policemen.
Whether or not he broke the law, he didn’t deserve to die that way.
Now he will not have his day in court, here on earth, like so many other victims of racism and injustice. Bearing witness to that video recording stirred something inside of me. I try to keep things positive and light as much as I can, but it is not possible after seeing what happened.
The first thing I do when I am troubled is to pray.
I started watching for ways to learn how I could help. If you do your own research, you will find there are many organizations accepting donations for various charities centered around the cause. I made the decision to show up, to be present, and to listen while participating.
After fighting with a parking meter, I made my way up the street where the #BlackLivesMatter March would start. They began before I got there, with the crowd in silence, taking a knee, or kneeling on the grounds of our City Hall. Some people held their arms in the air, others, like me, held a hand over their heart. When I got close enough, I paused and waited for this to conclude before taking out my camera. I did not bring a sign, rather I chose to bring my camera with the full intention of writing this when I got home. I wanted to be present and to bear witness.
You have no idea how happy I was when one of my best friends appeared. Even if I had to be there alone, because of the location of the march, and the time of day it was happening, I felt that I would be okay. It was being held in the middle of the day, downtown, on the same walking path of the Pride Parade. I looked it up online and decided I could handle the distance of the march. Having a friend there eased my anxiety, a bit.
The irony of my poor physical condition combined with wearing a face mask and needing to stop for my asthma inhaler is not lost on me.
I did not want to fall behind, I wanted to keep up with the people around me. Until that point, I pushed myself, until I realized that I was having difficulty breathing. I was able to stop long enough to take two puffs of my inhaler and could breathe easier right away. I was able to continue in the march.
George Floyd was not given the ability to breathe when three police officers knelt on top of him. He suffocated under the weight of their knees on his body. I am only aware of this because it was the start of the riots in Minneapolis, and spreading to other cities in the United States of America. The irony of the name of a country so divided on so many levels is something I am also very aware of, even if it is only occurring to me as I type. It happens all over the world, even here. Racism, hatred, segregation, violence, and murder. All over the world, right under our noses.
So much hate, violence, and murder are often overlooked because it happens so often, people grow immune to it.
Turning a blind eye to injustice is no better than rioting and looting because of it. My eyes are open. I do not know what tomorrow brings, but I am trying to do better. My purpose on earth is to bring more good into the world, every day, more than yesterday. I do admit that it is difficult on days like today, but I am doing the best I can, which is all any of us can do. Not our worst, our best.
Every. Single. Day.
I showed up and I marched with the crowd. (I did wear my face mask, bring hand sanitizer, and a bottle of water from home. The COVID-19 concerns are still very real). I yelled, I chanted the rally cries and I listened to the speeches when we got back to the city hall. It was a peaceful rally, and I don’t know how many people were there, but I do know that the organizers were thrilled with the show of support by the turnout.
One last thought before I press that publish button.
Underneath it all, in our very core, beats a heart in every living human being. Our hearts are all the same colour, as is the blood pumping in our veins. We can do better. I am trying. I hope that you will try too. Once we grow accustomed to what it means to try, then we must do better. It is not a choice anymore, it is a requirement of being human.
Don’t let the darkness of those who do wrong overtake the light. We win when we stand together, to support each other. It is something I have learned in the writing community. When we support each other, we rise together. It is time to reach out your hand to whoever needs the help. Before things get worse. If we do nothing at all, we are no better than the oppressors. Have difficult conversations. Ask awkward questions, sensitively. Find out how to help those in need. Dig as deep as you have to for your empathy. It is in there, you just have to find it. When you do, you will realize, like I do, that this is what is important, and by speaking up and speaking out, we can change the world. One conversation at a time.