And have spurred me to be a better white ally…
…Because it isn’t the Black community that created a society of white supremacy and we can’t expect them to fix it. It will require all of us.
So I have been listening to my Black friends--their exhaustion, and sense of alienation are enormous and have been across generations—Their chronic stress is overwhelming. And their losses from Covid-19 accentuate the pains.
And I have been learning about how we have structured our society to reinforce the racial inequality.
I also got in conversation with one of my favorite yoga teachers who shared with me in a vulnerable and impassioned way. While we have exchanged a lot over the weeks, the first thing she shared stuck with me.
When she opens the studio in darkness at 5 am. And while her students are checking their emails and filling their water bottles safely at home, she is desperately trying to unlock the studio door-- quickly, lest she be mistaken for someone breaking in.
She literally fears every day she may be shot and even killed…this is teaching yoga while being Black:
She, in heightened stress, while lovingly offering stress relief and healing to her students. And those of us in full white privilege have been in total ignorance of her experience.
She has many stories--too many—no one should have these stories, but every single Black person has books of them.
And this shouldn’t be anyone’s life.
She shouldn’t have seven cops surround her with guns drawn when pulled over for a routine traffic violation. NOBODY SHOULD.
And George Floyd shouldn’t have a knee on his neck for a $20 bill. Amaud Arbery shouldn’t take his last breath at the hands of racist vigilantes.
No one should have to warn their six year old that some people will hate them for the color of their skin. But Black mamas and papas have that talk—repeatedly—to do whatever possible to keep their babies safe.
No one should have their first experience with the police be an arrest at age eight.
No one should believe that taking a knee in peaceful protest will end their careers…or their lives.
No one should believe six Black men committed suicide by hanging themselves from trees.
We are in a moment. Passion for change is tremendous.
We cannot squander this opportunity.
It will take us all. Speaking out. Voting. Not settling for anything less than sweeping changes that offer equal opportunities-- a better country for all of us. Because when we dehumanize any group of people, we all become inhuman.
So I headed to my studio this week with all passion and painted:
Bare-ing Witness: The Fierce Urgency of Now.
Inspired by the raw sharing of my yoga friend and all those who speak their truth, the white allys who will join this movement and the inspiring words of Dr. King that we need to carry with us as we join to bring light and hope to all our lives.