Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Being an Ally

Let's talk for a minute about allyship. (Yeah, I'm creating words - sue me.) I've been thinking a lot over the last few months - and especially these last few days - on how I can be a better, more vocal ally.

Being an ally - by definition - means "to unite or form a connection or relation between". Generally I'm pretty open and accepting with people who might be a different race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation than me. I've probably grown the most in my allyship (see, it's a word now. I've used it twice!) with those who identify as LGBTQ. I have a number of people I care deeply about who identify as LGBT and I see no reason they should be treated differently from me due to one part of who they are. The area where I've identified needing continual growth has been my allyship with those who identify as black. Not because I don't sympathize or have people I care deeply for who identify as such. But I haven't been as outspoken as I could be. I need to use my white privilege to challenge racial bias.

There are a few things I'm committed to doing in the next few months to be a better ally.
  1. I will talk with the director at my son's school about adding more diversity in toys and curriculum. I'd love to bring in a preschool entertainer who can talk about race and acceptance. 
  2. If I hear something at the booth next to me or in line at the store, I will find a way to say something. I'll be polite but direct. This will role model for my kids how we stand up for others and value diversity.   
  3. I will make the time to read at least one book that will enhance my understanding or ability to be an ally. (Recommendations? Leave them in the comments PLEASE!!)
  4. I will do at least one fundraiser for the ACLU. This is already in progress. If you're interested in helping, shop here. I'm hoping to do another in the future!
I've really struggled with being able to do all that I want while balancing being a wife, mother, crafter, and small business owner. But now is when we need to step up. My kids are watching. We can't allow those who don't value the mosaic of our country to win.

Monday, August 14, 2017

When Hate Visited Charlotteville

I stood in Panera on Saturday reading the news out of Charlottesville on my phone, on the edge of tears. Tears for my country. Tears for my friends who are brown and black who live each day worrying about what their countrymen might do to them. Tears for those soldiers of color who fight for the right of those white supremacists to protest. As if they really have a legitimate right to protest things being a little more equal. 

I never fail to be astounded by the awfulness of some people. People who fail to see humanity. People who fail to see the gifts black, brown, native, and others have given to our country and world. Music, science, social justice, sports, math and other areas advanced by the sharing of those gifts. 
Retrieved from Google 8/14/17

More than anything I want my kids to see people for who they are. Yes they will see color but that is a small part of what makes a person tick. I was them to see the content of someone's character, to see equality, to embrace differences, to lead by example. 

Although I care deeply for social justice, I also acknowledge I still have a lot to learn. The best way for me to make an impact right now is to listen. To not be defensive but to truly hear. To call out judgement and prejudice when I can - in both myself and others. To go beyond tolerance to love. 

Events like Charlottesville keep happening. And they will continue to happen until We the People stand up and challenge them. 

As white people we've sat back for too long. We may acknowledge the problem but have not been willing to be embrace discomfort enough to be part of the solution. It's not up to our black and brown brothers and sisters to solve this hate and discrimination. If it were that easy we'd truly live in a post racial society. No, it's on us. Let's wipe away our tears and our shock over what happened, roll up our sleeves, listen to our black and brown peers, and start working.