Jun 18, 2020
I know that talking about race and the on-going impact of racism is a challenging subject, to say the least. Given the recent events of police brutality in the United States, I wanted to do my part to create a space where we can discuss positive solutions and really understand what our black neighbours are experiencing. Many of you are scared and unsure of what the future will bring and if anything will really change this time - I’m right there with you. But we can’t let despair cloud our vision, we need to face the problem head-on if we ever hope to see a brighter future.
For this conversation, I invited returning guests Dean Mitchell and Mario Robinson as well as Ashanti Branch, and Corbrae Smith. If you find yourself wondering if you really need to listen to this episode - the answer is, yes! Too much energy has been spent on apathy and indifference, we need to turn it around and look for ways to help move the “Moral arc of the universe,” as Martin Luther King Jr. once called it, toward justice.
When was the last time someone took the time to really listen to you and your perspective on a topic? How did you know that they listened to you? Let’s face it, talking is a lot easier to do than listening. To listen effectively, you have to be actively engaged - you need to focus on what the person is saying, not just listen long enough to get your opinion in.
Too many of our black fellow citizens feel like America isn’t listening to their pain and their suffering - it’s on us to put our hands over our mouths and actively listen to what they have to say. What will you do this week to move more toward the posture of actively listening to those raising their voices?
If you are nervous about talking about race, that’s a good start! I don’t want you all to live in fear but we should be nervous about moving into a space where we don’t have all the answers. Be prepared, as you navigate your own education on what it means to be anti-racist, that mistakes will happen and that’s OK. Resist the urge to get defensive, remember, it’s best to move forward in a posture of humility and listening. No one expects you to get everything right 100% of the time, give yourself the permission to mess up and learn along the way!
How do we move forward both individually and collectively? Will this movement be any different than movements and touchpoint cultural moments in the past? We can’t expect black people to educate the rest of the population on what it will take to dismantle systems of oppression. If we start from a place of really listening to the struggle and pain of our black neighbors, then we can begin the process of righting societal wrongs one step at a time.
On an individual scale, each person’s journey is going to look different. If you have the ability to encourage and financially support artists of color, I hope you take that step. I want to challenge you to use one thing that many people take for granted, your right to vote. Beyond national politics, in your local elections, you have the chance to choose sheriffs, mayors, school board members, and so many more. Don’t let this moment overwhelm you and dive you to inaction, pick one thing you can do to be part of the solution and do it!