For many the new year was a time of hope, of new beginnings. Usher in Covid-19 showing us that things are not always going to go as planned and then being reminded that racism is still very much a part of the US and watching as Black people have had to fight for basic human rights and dignity again.
I have been astounded by the numbers of people who will not wear a mask to protect the people around them and then I was even more astounded when people I know and love outed themselves as racists on social media.
Protests happened in my neighborhood. Peaceful protesters came out with signs and chanted. The majority of them wore masks. They caused no harm. The police watched them and there was no interaction. A few hours later the peaceful protesters disbursed and left. It was not too long afterwards that people began to file into the parking lot behind where I live. They broke windows and looted businesses that they could. They created havoc wherever they could.
When people asked me if I planned to stay at home the next night I thought about staying with a friend, but wanted to be in my own bed. I can easily leave and go somewhere else. Black people can not simply stop being black. The uncomfortable feelings I had during the night are nothing compared to what BIPOC feel when they are stopped by the police for a traffic infraction or for being in the “wrong” neighborhood.
We all have an obligation to our friends and neighbors and loved ones to make the world a better place. We owe it to the next generation to learn from mistakes and not repeat them.
We are all standing in a historical time and we have to make choices. We can choose to be better. We can choose to be helpers.
In the end, we all leave a legacy. I hope you choose to make yours one of positive actions, one that your great-great-great grandchildren will look at and be proud, but more importantly one that you can look back on and know that you made a difference and that you helped to make the world better.