James Baldwin once wrote: “Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society.” We stand face-to-face with the demands of real change in America. We are finally listening and bearing witness to the tragic history of racism that has shrouded our country since before inception.
The centuries of relentless and courageous protest by black and indigenous people of color (BIPOC) communities now needs to be matched by an equal – or even greater – force from white and non-POC communities. This moment of restorative justice must include a deep and personal reckoning of the ways in which we have systematically separated and denigrated the lives and livelihood of black people into this reality in which they cannot breathe.
The question of responsibility is a challenging one after hundreds of years of mistreatment. For white individuals like myself, how do we reconcile ourselves with our many privileges and advantages? How do we acknowledge the many ways that racism has in fact benefited white American wealth and power? How do we make real changes to integrate our cultures, and make the freedom and individual achievement we have come to see as an entitlement available to all?
If love is real in the world, then it must begin with compassion; with the real willingness to experience the suffering of others as our own. It demands that we open our hearts to the reality that our world and enormous global population is more the same than it is different. We of many races are in fact one race- the human race - though we must honor the unique and valid experiences that BIPOC continue to face today. These global problems demand our urgent attention and ingenuity.
This racial divide has weakened us for centuries. It is poison in the veins of this beautiful democratic ideal. And it is time that we all finally own it, together.
Toni Morrison wisely wrote: “The function of freedom is to free someone else.”
May love reign,
CEO and Founder