I’ve done quite a bit of soul-searching this past week after reading many perspectives on the activities of late. I need to admit something that, looking back, is embarrassing to acknowledge. Growing up Jewish, I always thought I understood what prejudice felt like. Being told things like “it’s too bad they didn’t kill more Jews during the Holocaust” and “don’t try to Jew me down,” I thought gave me a good perspective on the daily life of a black man. This couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Quietly to myself, I have been sad and hurt at all the unnecessary killings of black people in our country, but it ended there. Sure, I have hit the sad button when reading an article on Facebook about the injustices, but so what. I think the tipping point for me truly happened when Ahmaud Arbery was killed (I live in Georgia, and so did he), and the “good old boys” actually declared there was no crime. Maybe something had to happen in my backyard (figuratively speaking) to finally say out loud – enough is enough.
I read a posting from Shola MRichards on Facebook. Out of fear, he has never walked alone in his own neighborhood without his young daughter and fluffy dog. How can I possibly know what that feels like? What can I do to help him feel safe enough to walk alone?
As I watched the violent response in Atlanta to the killing of George Floyd, I cried. Yes, yet another black man was unjustifiably killed. Yes, the anger needs to be expressed. What I don’t understand is how looting and stealing alcohol from a restaurant helps, or how defacing the CNN building is even remotely related. Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, said she couldn’t protect her son when the activities started. Here is the full speech:
I wonder how those that are defacing our city would respond to her.
I saw videos of black people standing shoulder-to-shoulder protecting a police officer doing his job; I saw people congregating to clean up the broken glass and mess from the previous nights’ violence; the positive actions being taken through all this by both black people and others are happening but not reported nearly enough.
I don’t know who to ask, so I am putting it out to the universe: what can I, as a white woman, do to respectfully and appropriately effect change? If I felt there were a safe way to protest in my city to express my outrage, I would. The last few nights have proven that is not possible. Now what? I want to do something but have no idea what will help. I look forward to constructive and respectful answers.