If you have already read the first half of this submission, "Closing the Gap of Ignorance to Support BLM" in the Euclid Observer you can skip to the survey by clicking here. (Note: The survey site will not be available on 7/3 for site maintenance.) To read the Family Matters with Amber Column for News-Herald continuation of this article scroll down.
Not long into this pandemic my eyes were opened to my ignorance about racial injustice. It started as I watched people scramble for face coverings across the nation. Disturbed, I saw a man in California use ‘required face coverings’ to push his prejudice agenda. In broad daylight, leaning on his grocery cart, he donned a Klu Klux Klan hood like a baseball cap. “The nerve”. I was in disbelief. Sometime later, I would run two miles. Not because I’m a runner or knew Ahmaud, but because it was a worthy cause. About a month later, appalled, I watched ‘Walk in the park Karen’. That wicked witch of the east. “What gave her the idea or right to put herself above anyone due to her skin color (or anyone else’s)?” Then…I saw the same straw that broke the pandemic-tired nation’s (and the repeatedly and historically abused black community’s) back. Despicable, shameful, horrific, senseless, undeserved acts. I don’t need to tell you, there’s indeed a crisis in our nation, and that’s why BLM exists.
We need change. I want and need to be a part of the solution. But, as I’ve said before, “Who wants to hear from me? I’m just a white woman, raising white kids, in a white neighborhood.” What do I know? I know this: I purposefully moved away from an all-white town in Connecticut to a more diverse city near Cleveland, I don’t view people in color, my children don’t either. And as one friend said to me the other day, "You hate racism". That's all good right? Yes, it is. But it’s not good enough, which is what I'm realizing.
I have to speak up, but I don’t have the words. I’m not black and couldn’t possibly relate. So, I’ve been listening to those who can. I’ve been calling friends, my sister, previous co-workers, my client and my past daycare provider, anyone who might know about racial issues. The conversations are long and eye-opening. I’ve reviewed notes from the diversity/inclusion conference I attended in March and listened to a live panel in Cleveland about racial injustice. I’m asking questions, trying to soak in and understand why I don’t understand. I get it now. It’s because I’m ignorant to the issues…that white privilege created. Well, the ignorance gap needs to be closed. My public presence needs to be utilized and my power needs to be harnessed, but my voice needs to come from the black community. Not me. Please read the rest of this story and use an opportunity to give input on change via a survey that’s posted above.
Cont'd from the published article...
I think that’s why so many white people have gotten it wrong, including my favorite team’s quarterback, Drew Brees. He has a heart, he’s trying. But we can’t, as white people, just get up and say we understand and support. Because unless we are black, parents of black children, in a biracial relationship, or are working already within the black community, we don’t know a damn thing about the issues. But, like the title here states, the black community cannot do this, nor should they do it, alone!
That is why I'm using my time, resources and public platform to help educate white communities by using black voices. Please join the many who are participating in my survey for those who want to share their experiences as a black man, woman, parent, or child, for us to understand what you go through, what you are in need of, what we can do, and how I/we can help be part of the solution.
Ignorance is most often peeled away by education. If you work with communities that are experiencing racial injustice, racial profiling, or have yourself experienced it, please participate in the above anonymous survey that I will use to help white families in our communities understand and assist in this very important, very crucial movement for human justice. Together we can make a difference. ~Thank you.