As we usually do when the year changes, we entered 2020 filled with hope for better and completely unknowing of the events that the next months would bring. For the first part of the year, the entire world was focused on the devastating effects of the novel coronavirus storming into modern society and shaking it to its core. The unemployment rate has reached a new high while the medical system comes dangerously closer to collapse with every passing day and this big cloud of uncertainty just floats above us.
By this point, it is fairly clear that we are in a crisis unlike no other and although it started with the discovery of the virus, it seems to have created a ripple effect that is uncovering not only the weaknesses of our society but also those of our human nature.
The murder of George Floyd was heartbreaking, horrific, and infuriating. And what is even more infuriating is the fact that we know well enough that it's not a singular case. Despite the evolution that we as a society have reached, it is clearer than ever that racism and socio-economical injustice are still deeply rooted not only in America but worldwide.
What happened to George Floyd is a sign that things need to change not only in the system but in the way that we, as individuals think, act and build our society. The BLM movement is an opportunity to open a bigger discussion about social injustice, equality, and freedom and we cannot let it pass. We encounter forms of racism or classism in every part of the world and this is probably why this movement has resonated so well with people worldwide and has sparked numerous protests and manifestations focusing on the issue of white privilege and equality.
For the past few weeks I have been asking myself, where is the balm of Gilead? How do we fix this? How do we heal? And I have come to one inconvenient conclusion; change must start with each of us, individually. In my struggle to come up with the best ways in which I can start inflicting change now, I have thought of six actions that I can do today to help change tomorrow and I want to share them with you.
- Recognizing and Understanding White Privilege
As I see it, white privilege is not negative and it does not mean that I am racist. What it means is that when I get pulled over by the police, I get a ticket. White privilege means that I never worry about getting dragged out of the car and beaten or even worse, shot, and killed. It means I don't worry about going to jail because I may fit a description and I never have to have a conversation with my children to tell them how they should speak and act if they get pulled over, how they should dress or that they might encounter bigger difficulties in their paths because of the color of their skin. This is what it means to have white privilege. I have white privilege.
- Verbalizing that Black Lives Matter
I can't equivocate and say, 'all lives matter' and 'blue lives matter' this is a diversion. Statistics show black Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by Police than are whites. I say, Black Lives Matter.
- Understanding and Believing in Equality
'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness'. This passage has come to represent a moral standard, a virtue to which the citizens of The United States should strive. Either I am a man of virtue, of moral excellence, and choose to believe in equality or I am not. I choose to believe. I hold these truths to be self-evident.
- Taking a Stand
I can use my voice to clarify, defend, and speak out. I will not fear the consequences. I will take a stand.
- Loving Thy Neighbour
I can love my neighbor. I can reach out and engage unconditionally regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or political differences. I will love my neighbor.
- Teaching our Children
Just as hate is taught so is acceptance and love. The powerful admonition of acceptance must survive generationally. I will teach my children.
I am not naive. Systemic racism is a cancer that will take generations to end if it can end at all. I'm not worried about the odds. I choose to take a stand because we are endowed by our Creator that ALL men are created equal. And when my judgment day comes and I am asked, 'What did you do for your fellow man'? I can answer unequivocally, I am my brother's keeper, I fought for him.
Chief Executive Officer at Atraxia Media LLC