My husband and I own a house on 40 acres of land with two other couples up in NYS. The guys use it primarily for hunting…When Hubby and I go it is generally to find peace and tranquility and refresh our souls. We spent a few days there earlier in the month, a few days after the killing of George Floyd. Between the whole Corona Virus stress and the ugly that was happening, we needed some time to get away from the noise. Not the situation itself, but the media both the “professionals” and the keyboard warriors who once again tried to force feed everyone of what they should be feeling and which “side is right”.. .
We visited a few waterfalls and found a new park with these crystal blue ( think Caribbean) lakes, we pulled out our new fancy telescope and gazed upon the night sky in awe and wonder. I spent quiet time alone early in the mornings while he caught up on some sleep, sipping my coffee, taking pictures, praying, journaling, listening to the choir of animals serenading me and remembering…
One morning I went out for a run, ear phones in, music playing. Then gradually my speed slowed down and my run became a jog. My jog became a speed walk which then morphed into a slow methodical movement and I realized I was consumed with my thoughts and the music no longer held my attention so I turned it off and began to record my thoughts in my phone. They were jumbled yet I know they were connected and are part of the bigger story.
I found myself back in junior high school, in the choir, where I met 3 beautiful young men of color, kind, funny talented. Different shades of complexion and heights. I had a crush on the tall one big time…butterflies and racing pulse and that velvety voice.
I found myself smiling as I was walking, until my mind then flashed to another memory during that same period where I was guilty of following the crowd in their backwards thinking. I allowed myself to go along and even contribute to the ugly thoughts, briefly… then I remember immediately feeling ashamed. My heart hurt I knew it was wrong. I couldn’t reconcile these horrible words and ideals about people I’ve never met and I certainly couldn’t match them to the young men I knew and truly liked. I went home that night and I cried and vowed I would not be misled again.
After my run/jog/walk, that same day, I saw a post from a friend asking if anyone would be interested in joining her in reading and talking through the book, “Me and White Supremacy” and I felt the conviction to take part and immediately downloaded the book and began to read it. I’m still working my way through that exercise and am not ready to share yet what I feel about that as I am still figuring that out. But I do know that it is making me take a deep dive into who I am intrinsically.
If you know me in real life, you know that I do not follow the crowd, I do not care what other people think about me. I will not just go along because that is what everyone else thinks, I speak my mind. And when people make insulting and derogatory comments in front of me, I will say something. However, on the issue of race and prejudice overall, I have fallen way short in being part of the solution…
Last night I watched Just Mercy, if you have not seen it – go watch it. The events in this movie took place in the 1980’s and 1990’s – LONG AFTER the civil rights movement and the supposed change that took place in America.
It is the true story of a black man, Walter McMillian, convicted and sentenced to death for murdering a white girl in 1987 based on the fabricated/forced testimony of a white convict coerced by the police to lie that he witnessed the crime. He was convicted on that testimony alone without a shred of evidence and despite the fact that over a dozen people were with McMillian when the murder took place…
With the perseverance and dedication of a young attorney and the Equal Justice Initiative they got the charges dismissed and it only took six years…I say only because other cases have taken decades even though it was obvious to everyone the charges were made up except those in power who disregarded cold hard facts, time and time again.
I found myself in tears and thoroughly disgusted as the credits rolled and the after notes appeared it was revealed that Tom Tate, who was one of the main evil persons who railroaded McMillan and so many others, remained sheriff for 30 years after McMillian was released. I felt ill. Reelected multiple times by the people. Seriously Alabama WTF?
So here is where I find myself right now, searching for ways to affect change. Trying to find a path to a better world for everyone. These days I find my thoughts occupied by two things, my amazing new grandson and what can I do, no rather what will I do, to make the world he grows up into one where everyone is treated with respect and dignity no matter what color their skin is or what religion they follow… I’m sort of stumbling my way through and I will make mistakes along the way I am sure, but I am going to continue on this path #wherevermyheartleadsme.