For the last few weeks after learning about George Floyd’s death I have sat in anger, confusion, sadness and heartache. I have wondered how this has continued to happen, I have wondered once again “What do I do?”
I have sat back on my hands continuously over the last few years as I’ve seen news reports regarding the deaths of black individuals and other minorities. I’ve seen them, I’ve been saddened and yet I still have done nothing. I have not said or done anything because I did not know what to do and felt that my voice didn’t matter.
I live in Maine, the whitest state in the U.S. per 2019 Census Data. I grew up in a town that had other races but when I was half way thru highschool I moved. I remember being shocked by how white the school was. Now living in midcoast Maine the white population is that much greater. When I leave the state I own that I am the awkward, white Maine girl who tries to avoid eye contact with individuals of other races because I don’t want to be caught staring. This is because I have been censored, because I find what they wear, how they move, how they speak interesting and want to learn more and I still don’t.
That statement, I was afraid to write. I am afraid for people to read it. THAT is my white privilege, that even me writing and sharing it I still get to keep my life. I still get to be comfortable in my own home, and I still have less to worry about backlash comments.
That is what I have learned over the last few weeks.
I’ve also learned that if I make a mistake in a statement, I would please ask that someone give me the constructive criticism to correct me. I have been afraid of that, I’ve been afraid to say or do that wrong thing and be corrected because I ultimately do not want to offend someone. However, in one way or another someone is bound to get offended.
I think for myself, I work very hard to educate myself, these actions help culminate what I do and say. At the same time, I am someone who can be rash in actions and words (I’m human, go figure). This may lead to doing something incorrectly, I own that.
I’ve tried to pull together some tidbits that I’ve gathered that can assist in black lives being heard and seen. The thing that frustrates me is that we’ve gone two and a half weeks and the media coverage has LESSENED. This is why individuals can not stop sharing and using their own voice to continue the coverage.
Things you can do:
Shop black owned businesses
Use your voice or platform to share the message
Find people to talk to and with
Create a book club
A few resources I’ve found:
Justice for Breonna – Sign the petition for Breonna who was shot dead in her home the evening of March 13th.
Books to Read – LA Times released ONE list of books to read. This is just one list of books, there are many others
White privilege Checklist – For those of us who might feel like we don’t have it and/or are the type of people who need to see a numerical representation of what our privilege is.
Black Owned Maine: Many states have their own version, it is a list of stores, artists, teachers, businesses to support black people who own them.
Again, I acknowledge this is only the beginning of the now. This list, these resources and my knowledge are far from being limited to just this. So I invite you to share with me, share with others, have conversations, and be kind while listening.