Today I want to address the frustrations and anger that has turned into protests, riots and violence in Minneapolis, New York and other places across America, spurred by the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and unfortunately many more at the hands of police and others.
First of all, I want to state that the police brutality and other violence against Black people we witnessed is in direct opposition to the values we seek to uphold as Redoxers. While many of us had a strong and emotional reaction to these events, as I did, this is a reality that many black Americans face on a daily basis.
Over the weekend, I spent time reflecting, talking to my family, and trying to figure out what actions I could take. Some of these steps might work, some might not. But I’m committed to trying and learning.
First – To listen more, and talk less
This is honestly one of the reasons I struggled with whether I should share anything on this topic at all. But I decided that to be silent is to be complicit.
Second – To educate myself
It’s on me to educate myself and understand our current status quo. So I’m starting with reading ‘The New Jim Crow’ by Michelle Alexander and will go from there.
Third – Understanding that my fundamental choice is Action or Inaction
This is my primary choice. Living with privilege means that if I choose not to take action, I’ll be fine. And that choice will perpetuate the system we have today, of ingrained racism. Choosing to act means I need to change my behavior. I can give, I can help, I can support, I can vote.
Over the past few days, my wife and I have made a few decisions on how we’re going to change.
- We’ll be giving each month to the NAACP
- We’ll be giving each month locally in Madison, starting with the Goodman Community Center
- We’ll be informing ourselves and voting in each and every local, regional, and national election.
- We’ll be consciously expanding our social circle to ensure we regularly interact with people who don’t look like us.
Please don’t take these choices as a prescription. Each of us should try and answer this question for ourselves. But the fundamental choice is still the same. Our choice is to do something.