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IT’S TIME TO LISTEN

June 04, 2020 5 Comments

IT’S TIME TO LISTEN

Sometimes hearing thoughts through someone else’s words starts a dialogue, evokes ideas, or just makes you think about the world from a different viewpoint.

Olivia Santiago, my (step) daughter, wrote today’s blog post because I thought it was important to look at the world through a different perspective, through the eyes of someone who hadn’t gone through the Civil Rights movement—and I was right. Olivia’s words are thoughtful, provocative, and positive. Most of all her piece is a call to action that is done in a way that inspires. Thank you, Olivia.

Olivia Santiago:

It’s been a dark and heavy week. Just as many cities started to see a glimmer of hope after 12 weeks of quarantine being lifted, we’ve snapped back to the reality of the systemic, institutional racist society we live in. 

As an American (and a human) I am outraged. I am horrified. I am angered. I am saddened. 

In the past week, we’ve watched yet another innocent unarmed black man be murdered at the hands of a police officer. We’ve watched fellow American citizens be tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets while exercising their constitutional right to speak out against racism and the senseless killing of George Floyd. This is unacceptable and we must do better. 

I had the opportunity to take part in a discussion with a group of black colleagues. It was incredibly raw and emotional. I didn’t say a word—not that I should have; this was my time to listen. I listened as they candidly spoke about what this all means to them, the terror, injustice, and negative psychological damage of simply existing as black. 

I’d like to think of myself as a tolerant and accepting person. But as a white person, I didn’t know how badly I needed to hear my colleagues. And I mean really hear them. It was hard but it was one of the more powerful and eye-opening experiences of my life. And I'm honestly grateful for it.

I will never know what it’s like to be followed in a store unnecessarily, what it's like for someone to cross the street when I’m walking toward them, or fearing for my life when a cop stops me. I can only imagine the deep and distinct pain endured by black Americans. What it must do to a person to live in that type of fear every day blows my mind. And why? Solely for the color of their skin? It’s wrong. It’s just so wrong. We’re all part of the same race—the human race.  

There is a serious problem in this country. We have a system that holds black people down. Change requires us to listen and to have those hard and uncomfortable conversations about race and acknowledge our white privilege. 

So, this is a direct message to the allies reading this: Allies, we have a responsibility. We need to advocate and push for more because we all have a role to play in this fight against racism. This is a rare opportunity to really listen to our black family, friends, our colleagues. While it’s nice to relate and empathize, now is not the time to insert personal experiences into this narrative because it’s not about us. We must educate ourselves about the impacts of racism and intolerance. Ignorance is NOT bliss. We don’t need a social media following or a blog to have a platform. If we have a voice, we must use it. Sign petitions, call our representatives, donate money or time, and vote. Keep supporting after the outrage and attention has died down. This is also a time to speak with our white friends because we need to address what is going on, hold each other accountable, speak out against injustice, and unite. Whatever we do can be personal to what works for us—but being silent is not an option. 

There are SO many resources out there. There is endless information at the tips of our fingers with a quick Google search. While these don’t even scratch the surface, here are a few recommendations to get us started to help educate ourselves. 

 

Donate

NAACP Legal Defence Fund 

Legal organization fighting for racial injustice 

 

The American Civil Liberties Union 

Provides legal assistance whenever civil liberties are at risk

 

Fair Fight

Ensures fair elections and combats voter suppression

 

Know Your Rights Camp

Provides resources for black/brown communities, including hiring defense attorneys for anyone arrested protesting police brutality 

 

Campaign Zero 

Supports the analysis of policing practicing, researches to identify solutions to end police violence in America 

 

The Love Land Foundation

Commits to showing up for communities of color in unique and powerful ways, with a particular focus on black women and girls

 

Resources to Read 

So You Want to Talk About Race

Ijeoma Oluo

 

Me and White Supremacy 

Layla F. Saad

 

White Fragility 

Robin DiAngelo

 

Podcasts to Listen to

1619  (NY Times)

 

Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)

 

Code Switch (NPR)

 

Intersectionality Matters

 

The Diversity Gap

 

Take Action

8 Can't Wait

End police violence in America. Tell your mayor to adopt 8 can’t wait.

 

Black Lives Matter—Global Actions

 

Vote Save America

Vote. Make sure you’re registered. Make sure your family and friends are registered.

Volunteer your time to help others get registered and help voter turnout. (Can be done all virtually!) Check out their “Adopt a State.” 

 

Demand action from your representative 

Find out your state and federal representatives stances and tell them to pass legislation immediately to end police violence. 

 

Support black business owners

A quick Google search can show you local restaurants, stores, even brands of food, health, and beauty products

 





5 Responses

Adeline Olmer
Adeline Olmer

June 05, 2020

Thank you so much for your comment Tulis. The links are hot, I’m not certain why they weren’t for you. I will check to see if anyone else is having this problem. Your suggestion to make the links a different color is important. I thought I had, but apparently not. I’ll fix that. Merci

Tulis McCall
Tulis McCall

June 05, 2020

Bravo Adeline and Olivia – what a team you make. Consider doing more of this partnership.

On a technical note it would be helpful if all your suggested contact points were hot links. THAT is a serious timesaver – in all honesty I would be the person to skip over the unliked mentions. Yeah, yeah, I know. But true.

I think adding the links would be relatively simple. And consider a darker color, or bold. It is hard to see what is hot. Other than you two, of course.

PETER ROSEN
PETER ROSEN

June 05, 2020

Wonderfully written. We (white people) need to follow your profound and direct wisdom. The key phrase that you write which truly summarizes your blog is ”being silent is not an option”.

I am so proud of all the protesters in the streets, young, old, black, white, brown, yellow, other, who are protesting for what is necessary. I believe it made a difference in 1968 (and beyond) when I was protesting. It will make a difference now. I’d join you now but am not sure I can match your energy (at my ripe old age).

Our next and possibly most important task is to make sure young and old people alike are registered to vote. And then, ACTUALLY vote. This can and will make a difference. Onward! The battle has been waged and our future depends on it. The future is in our hands.

ARLENE VAQUER
ARLENE VAQUER

June 05, 2020

There are no words…. Olivia is right… it is time to LISTEN…

Mary Jaeger
Mary Jaeger

June 05, 2020

THANK YOU and your daughter for this statement. Our eighteen year old daughter who is graduating from high school in June expresses similar ideas and points of action we can all take. Olivia and Edith are our teachers and I am listening. Our society needs to change to make it more fair and just.
Thank you,
Mary Jaeger

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