It’s strange to think about all the time I spent driving around parking lots searching for the closest spot to the entrance of the store or business. The number of times I drove around the block to the mailbox, or drove from my house to a gym where I paid a membership to exercise, to avoid taking the steps… embarrases me now that I’m living car-free, and gym-membership-free. Instead of taking my time to find a good parking stop, I take walks, I take the stairs (up to my 10th floor apartment) and I take much less for granted.
But this isn’t about me.
It’s about you.
Yes, you. You have the choice to also take those extra steps to make a change for the better. To move in the direction of a better you and a better world. A world where people are treated fairly. Because this whole equal thing doesn’t seem to be working, let’s try fair.
I used to think it was all about equality. That’s what sounds right. It’s what we claim to stand on as Americans, but it’s bullshit. Yes, I want people to have equal access to important things, (clean water, healthy food, safety, love, education–to name a few) but I have become far too aware in my life that people are not, in fact, equal.
But everyone deserves just, unbiased treatment. We deserve fairness.
I know my posts are usually sharing about me, my life, my problems, but I’m going to ask something of you today. I’m going to ask that if you have a “box” and you don’t NEED it, that you share it with someone who does.
The United States of America has a long and ugly history of holding down the underdogs, even pushing them down, but it’s time to stop this nonsense. Native Americans from North Dakota are embedded in a fight for equity right now….again….still. Black people are being persecuted for taking a stand….no, a knee…. against the injustice they continue to face, while people like Brock Turner and William Bruce Ray receive preferential treatment for their deplorable actions.
My best friend, Lindsey Tarr, who by no coincidence is one of the most caring and driven people I know, is just one of thousands of people getting involved in the fight for human rights. She is about to embark on a journey to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation to help find a solution to the problem, which stems from energy needs causing a major potential risk in contaminating a water source that feeds into about a dozen states. You can read more about it here on her blog, or here, here, or here if you don’t know much about it YET, or want to know MORE. And please check out the list of things the protesters need to help equip these fighters for rights with stamina and endurance (with a side of hope). Maybe you can’t go join them, but you can help in other ways. And you should help if you are able. Please. If you or anyone you know is interested in getting more involved, please email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is departing on Oct. 8th from San Diego.
Now, I know that many of you are not passionate about this. I know that not everyone feels called to help with other people’s problems. I know that not everyone was lucky enough to be chosen to attend life-changing and eye-opening opportunities like HOBY, a leadership and diversity experience that fueled my passion for standing up for those who need support. Not everyone has been exposed to opportunities or challenges to make them socially-conscious (herein is a root of the problems), but that doesn’t mean it’s too late, and I know you have it inside you.
HOBY elevated my awareness of the injustices faced by minorities; it inspired me to become a lifelong advocate for minorities, including black people and the LGBTQ+ community–who I had little exposure to/awareness of at that point in my life; my experiences with HOBY ignited my desire to tear down the walls people build around one another in our very own communities, walls we build out of hate, fear, bias (conscious and unconscious) and ignorance. I hope that I might inspire you to gain the same desire
I have learned many times over throughout my life and as a teacher that WE ALL must work together to build each other up if we are going to move forward. So, again, if you have a box and don’t need one, please give it to those who do.
Maybe you have no strong feelings about what’s going on in North Dakota because it’s not going to affect you personally. Maybe you think the media is blowing things out of proportion with any or all of the racially charged issues so many are facing. If that’s true of your feelings, I implore you to educate yourself more by reading a variety of sources and breaking out of your comfort zone. I already shared this article on my facebook page, but this would be a good place to start. Feeling uncomfortable in the face of all of this political turmoil is what I would expect you to feel, (and it’s better than apathy) and it shows me you are capable of understanding where these minority groups are coming from in their dissatisfaction with the state of things in the U.S. right now. And maybe, as you read this, you are thinking that it doesn’t sound like I’m speaking to you; maybe you know someone who does need to hear this–please share it with them. We ALL must help one another to solve these problems. I’m not saying I have the solution, but I believe it’s out there and will be discovered once our walls come down.
I’m going to be following Lindsey’s journey to North Dakota and do everything I can from Brazil to help with this major moment in American history to take one more step towards fairness and human rights. What I’m asking is that you do the same from wherever you are.
In some ways it feels to me like people in the U.S. are doing what I used to do: taking the long way around by car to avoid standing up and doing what’s best…doing whatever it takes to avoid walking towards the solution…making it harder on themselves in the long-run because being comfortable in the moment seems better. Whether you walk or MARCH, go strongly forward in the direction of equity. #NoDAPL