Hope and tragedy are not mutually-exclusive. We’re seeing this now in literally every state in the union. But the thing about hope is that you can’t just have it. It’s not going to knock on your door. It’s something you have to actively make and seek out.
Change isn’t going to happen all on its own and it’s not some else’s job. It’s everyone’s job. We can’t just say we’re watching the news and crying over the pain and heartache we’re seeing. Yes, cry but then get a tissue and get to work.
Yes we need to vote but voting isn’t enough either. This has to go far beyond politics, elections, and the ballot box. We need more activism.
Yesterday, I took more action. I signed up for a policy working group with Campaign Zero and made a donation to their work. I signed up for and made a donation to Color Of Change which creates opportunities for online activism to fight racism and advocate for the civil rights of Black people. I went to a webinar hosted by Facing History and Ourselves titled Working for Justice, Equity and Civic Agency in Our Schools: A Conversation with Clint Smith. Facing History provides resources and training to history educators. The event was fantastic. I made a donation and signed up for more of their events. You can do all these things right from your home. I also donated to the First Nations Development Institute to help native tribes on whose homes we all live—a donation that is long overdue. The five largest hotspots for COVID are all tribal lands. New York would be number six behind all of them.
Some people say they feel powerless in these times, that they don’t know where to start. We’re not powerless. We’re never powerless. But we’ve got to have the will to do more.
We can’t just look away. We have to show up and do something whether that’s in-person or online. There are millions of Black people who live this terrifying reality every day and have for centuries. Look at these protesters. So many of them have no safety and no security of any kind in any part of their lives. All they’ve got is their presence and so that’s what they’re giving. If they can give so much while having so little, then there’s something we can all do.
Anger, rage, and grief are powerful tools. Don’t bury them. Use them.