(Edited: Important links to articles & video of what is happening in Baltimore – perspectives not being shown on most regular news sources – added below this article, Apr. 29, 2015…AND: this post was edited again (on April 30th, 2015) to reflect more of what I have learned and understand through these few days time. I used the phrase “all lives matter” along with “black lives matter” not intending to negate the solidarity, but rather, because all life and all beings matter – kindness to all being and all life are values that I have and express often, a mantra, a creed, if you will. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that putting them both together washes out the voices I was intending to support. I am sorry about that, and have corrected it. Never too old or young to learn and correct and grow from mistakes! Also, my expression of MLK’s words is sincere and heartfelt, and true to my being, and will never, could never be used or said in a manipulative and passive aggressive way as some are grossly doing. I wanted to express that if we are for life and love then we are allies and that is what we are, from the heart. And that beyond all odds, I do believe that what MLK preached is true and can be applied.)
When I woke up and found out about the Baltimore Riots this morning, I wept. I wept watching those grieving dealing with more pain and the youth so recklessly seeking a way to find change. After that, I wrote from my heart on my FB page about this. Here is what I wrote:
“It is heartbreaking. And the kids/people who were being destructive. I don’t condone the destruction…as many or most are not condoning it…but rather, saying how it is an inappropriate way to act out and how it disrespected everyone and hurts everyone. Yet, I feel and understand the core and honest – need and want – to tear down structures and systems that continue to allow people in authority to murder other people (who are black and brown) with little to no repercussions. Basically a need and want to get rid of corruption and all that opposes health and life for all. But fighting corruption with corruption? Or fighting corruption with violence? No. Those of us, like me, who have privilege because of our skin color need to speak up and stand in solidarity in a strong and peaceful way – whenever even the most subtle piece of racism or other “-isms” of discrimination and hate show up. No matter how hard my life has been or what difficulties I have survived, I still am privileged because I look very white. Nothing I can do about that? Not exactly. Being aware, means I have a voice and a choice when I am faced with these human rights issues. Who are we if we don’t? Peaceful does not mean weak. A strong voice. A strong heart. A strong mind that perseveres in the face of corruption and doesn’t accept it and seeks to correct it. That compassion that fuels it is strong. The strongest. How long can any of us tolerate the kind of insidious and violent racism that is thinly veiled by the massive business of Corrections in our country? Just like pedophiles are drawn to be in positions that come in regular contact with trusting parents and children. Hate driven people who want to lash out at their objects of hate seek positions of authority in which they could possibly get away with the violence within them.
I understand the need the youth have to act out in the face of a violence that seeks to annihilate them and their loved ones. However, I completely believe what Dr./Rev. MLK Jr. said and taught:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Dr./Rev. MLK Jr.
This is heartbreaking. To see the pain expressed so destructively. To see the grieving families being hurt from it. To see the young people trying to take down what they see is wrong but doing it in a way that causes more pain. To feel the deep and honest desire for the sickness in our country to be healed. I weep with every human who truly loves and care about others and life.”
In addition to saying this, I would like to say, that this illness of discrimination and hatred has many forms, not just one, and works within a race or gender as well as outside of it. I am white and I have also experienced some painful and hateful discrimination, for reasons other than the color of my skin. For others of all colors, there is discrimination because of gender, sexual orientation, class, poverty, level of mental capacities, appearance, education, simply for being “different”, weight, level of health, etc. There is discrimination within the black community towards one another. There has been, in the past, discrimination and hatred between First Nation tribes. This is really a human illness that knows no distinctions of color, race, creed, gender or orientation, actually. How ironic is that?
So, the truth and reality is, for all of us, regardless of distinctions between us is that solidarity, love, light, compassion and kindness – activism, peaceful activism & political action – rooted in these qualities, is what is critically necessary for us all to embody and vow to in order for healing within our country, ancestries, cities and communities to take place. Solidarity is saying, I don’t know what it is like for you, but I stand by you and support you. Black lives matter. Black lives are being stolen. Brown lives are being stolen. More than that. We are all connected and what happens to one happens to all of us. So, if you are a white person (like me) in a relatively peaceful city or wherever…you have a responsibility. As a human. To stand with your voice, heart, mind, actions each day for solidarity – that life matters, all lives. The corruption and sickness that kills black and brown people without question is clearly wrong/immoral/unjust and we will not be complicit by being silent. Since I am not the one facing violence all the time, I only know that solidarity is an answer. I can imagine what it is like to be racially oppressed. I can have compassion. But I don’t know. And never will. We haven’t come as far as we should have to heal the atrocities of the past, but a lot of lives of all colors have been laid down trying to make real change. It is no time to give up or splinter and divide against each other. It is time to claim solidarity to anyone who is for Life and Love regardless of any distinctions.
Update (Apr. 29, 2015):
The following articles and video are aspects and voices of the unrest and violence in Baltimore that is not being shown on most news channels. They express important, no, crucial perspective for all of us:
Polymic, 7 Facts Everyone Needs To Know To Understand What’s Happening In Baltimore: http://mic.com/articles/116714/7-facts-everyone-needs-to-know-to-understand-what-s-happening-in-baltimore
WBALTV, Gang members get mic time, voices usually not heard at all: http://www.wbaltv.com/news/gang-members-we-did-not-make-truce-to-harm-cops/32609810
VerySmartBrothas.com, Baltimore Is Not Ferguson:
Think Progress, Obama Calls Out America For Not Caring About Issues That Led To Riots in Baltimore: