The recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are tragic events. Tragedies that are not isolated events, but three of many in a long series of injustices. We are seeing, yet again, the laying down of another layer of the prejudice that supports the systemic racism that built our country.
The United States created wealth by exploiting African American (Black) people and other People of Color. Their lives, their bodies, their identities, all directed, used, and discarded to help America rise to power.
My heart is heavy from the events taking place across our country.
I’ve been sitting for the last week trying to process the horrors of police brutality. My role as a doctor is to help heal, and so that is what I am making an effort to do. As a healer, I’m offering what I can to help heal centuries’ old wounds which bleed once again.
We help others heal by honoring their voices.
I’ve been listening and holding space for my best friend, Joy Flynn. Joy is a local black woman and a spark for the peaceful assembly of kneelers in Downtown Santa Cruz on Saturday, May 30th. You may recognize her from this photo.
Joy’s words have been resonating with me. While it doesn’t feel good for me to hear the pain, the sadness, the brutal reality, I know I need to hear her words. I think we all need to hear her words, so I am sharing them with you —
“The system has been gaslighting people of color for centuries. Leading us to believe a false reality.”
In a way, we’ve all been gaslighted into believing racism is no longer a concern. My takeaway from this is that we need to uncover our own biases. While it is not easy to look within and recognize, we need to see that we all have some racist beliefs. Many of us benefit from white privilege. The system set-up from before we became a nation has made it so.
We help our country change by committing to education and action.
It’s time to wake up. We must bear witness to the ways people of color have been marginalized. We must understand the systems of oppression in education, the work force, financial wealth, and healthcare. It does not take much digging to find evidence of the chain of events that have led to where we are today — our police force murdering fellow citizens right before our eyes, as a normal part of their job.
How we got here is well-known. The question, now, is, “Where will we go from here?”
Sheltering in place has allowed many of us to identify and let go of what no longer serves us. We’re already deciding what we will bring back into our lives. But who will you welcome back into your home, into your heart?
Who sits at your dinner table? Is there diversity? Whose voices do you listen to? Whose voices do you choose to ignore?
We must Uncover to Recover.
This awakening, this revelation, must come before the revolution. I believe that our country is entering a stage of painful unbecoming.
I choose to stand with the Black community against injustice and racism.
We all have a duty to dismantle the systems guided by racism. We must work to create change, and help carry the weight the system has placed on the backs of people of color. We have a lot to learn. We must look inside and outside of ourselves for ways to support every member of the Black community.
I’d like to share this resource with you. It is a working document, a scaffolding of anti-racism resources and activities. Its goal is to facilitate growth for white folks to become allies, and eventually partners for anti-racist work.