For many years I have struggled to understand racism.
I learned about slavery and the Civil Rights Movement in school, but to me, it was just history. As a white, middle class woman, I could live in bliss and not be reminded that those historical events were still happening today. It wasn’t until recently that I began to investigate some of my own subconscious prejudices, engrained ideologies, and privileges, and I’ve come to see that the fight for equality is far from over.
Unfortunately, my silence and ignorant bliss has come a hefty cost for others. Across this country, thousands of men, women, and children, are discriminated, traumatized, oppressed, and killed because of the color of their skin. But the most concerning aspects? These events and my silence have been approved by society.
This is UNACCEPTABLE.
Ignorance is UNACCEPTABLE.
Racism is UNACCEPTABLE.
Discrimination is UNACCEPTABLE.
My silence is UNACCEPTABLE.
Today, we celebrate a Martin Luther King Jr., a man who stood for justice. Today, we remember all of the men, women, and children who were part of the Civil Rights Movement. We commemorate the memory of significant change in our country. The Civil Rights Movement stood for the EQUALITY of all people, JUSTICE within our nation, and LOVE for all human beings.
Yet, the purpose of this movement is not in the past. Millions of people are still fighting injustice and racism in our society today, and THERE IS STILL MORE WORK TO DO.
Over the last several years, we, as a country, have witnessed immense injustice and violence against all minorities and I have personally come face to face with my own pride and ignorance, and I’ve seen many people do the same. Yet despite all of the crimes committed against thousands of people, many Americans STILL DENY that there is racism in our country today. Unfortunately, we may never know if their denial is out of fear, ignorance, or lack of compassion.
We must speak up. We must LISTEN and HUMBLE OURSELVES. We must evaluate our actions, thoughts, and words and ask ourselves: how have I contributed to the pandemic of racism? How have I subconsciously condoned racist stereotypes? We must STOP AND THINK! We must stand up for friends AND strangers who are being oppressed and discriminated; not out of righteousness, but out of love and compassion for our neighbor.
As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day, I intend to stop being indifferent toward issues of racism and I plan to evaluate myself, my prejudices, my engrained ideologies, and my mistakes. I intend to fight for equality, diversity, love, justice, and truth. This holiday is meant to remind our country that making a difference and spreading love can start with one person, and this one person can be me, it can be us. I hope that our country can come to recognize the ongoing, ever-present, and long standing pandemic of racism in our country today. We must work toward a better future. A future of equality. A future of humility. A future filled with beautiful diversity. A future of everlasting peace. A future of truth and justice.