I sat down to write a blog post many times in the past month. Each time I abandoned the post. Each time resigned that I didn’t have the right words. Each time knowing that whatever felt difficult in my life did not even register on the negative scale of real life hardships. And each time not sure how a sweet, funny or heartwarming story about the new life I’ll soon bring into the world will contribute to the dialogue.
What can I as a straight white woman with a white husband and white children say?
I am saddened by our international tragedies - the terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Bangladesh, and Baghdad – that left more than 300 dead in the past week.
My heart continues to ache for the nonsense of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. This one is close to my soul as the child of a gay father who found refuge, happiness, and acceptance within gay bars. In my early twenties my dad asked me to come with him to his favorite bar. I went. Everyone welcomed me by name and hugged me. The bar was about friendship. He wanted me to see him happy. I am angry that a shooter filled with hatred stripped that safety and joy from so many.
This week... A black man is killed by a police officer in Minnesota. A black man is killed by a police officer in Louisiana. Five police officers are killed and seven more injured in Dallas. The Dallas ambush was reportedly executed in retaliation for law enforcement abuse of power. Sickening injustice in every case.
And then there is my day to day. I live one block from two public housing complexes and corner parks where black (mostly) men gather morning, noon and night. We walk by daily to go to the grocery store, the metro, a friend’s house, etc. I smile and say hello as I pass, often these days exchanging funny or congratulatory banter about my pregnant belly. But there is a divide much larger than the color of our skin.
Gunshots and violence are too normal on this block. I am sometimes fearful. In early June there were four gunshot incidents along that one block, and yet we must carefully monitor police reports to get an inklings of what happened or what is being done. When the crime is a black man shooting another black man nothing is reported. We all suffer from this.
The root is deep. The solution is deeper. All of this is wrong, so wrong. I do not regularly join the dialogue online, but I thank those who do post. I read. I take it in. I consider what I can do.
I am asking myself why there isn’t more outrage for the terror attacks in Muslim countries. I am asking myself how can I change the minds of those who do not welcome the LGBT community. And I am asking myself to look honestly and deeply at my thoughts and actions about race.
Thus far my answers rest with my family. I am responsible for having regular and honest conversations at home with Jason, Stella and the new baby we will welcome any day now. I am responsible for having the conversation with my extended family and my friends. What is going on? How can we be a force of change, peace, compassion, understanding, and positivity?
In talking to my mom recently she reminded me of the guiding light from her mom to always ‘look for the good’ in others and let that lead your way.
May I look for the good in every neighbor and teach my children the same. May it make a difference. May all beings be safe and free from suffering.
And I pray. I pray for all.