Today last year Michael Brown was gunned down by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Today last year is when I started paying closer attention to the racial tension that exists in our country.
I started listening.
I started asking people hard questions.
I started hearing their stories.
I joined my heart and my talent to support them in any meager way I could.
I started vocalizing what they told me so that my friends could hear and maybe then their friends too.
There are people in my circles who don’t understand, who pass judgement, who denounce the movement, and though that is their choice, it is not mine.
I try to remember that “before you knew, you didn’t know.”
I try to hold space for grace and the benefit of the doubt.
Before I knew, I didn’t know and for me my day of awakening was this day one year ago. Maybe your day was the same. Maybe it was long before that. Maybe it’s today. Maybe it’s now.
To my white friends and acquaintances and strangers who might be reading this, it’s time for us to know. It’s time to stop ignoring. It’s time to put ourselves within the uncomfortable framework of racism and white privilege and it’s time for us, for you, to begin listening, to hear stories, to hear anguish and anger and frustration and triumph.
It is time for repression and suppression and oppression to end. It is time for us to be angry and frustrated and scared and sad. It is time for longstanding systems of abuse to end. It is time for reform. It is time for activism and change and it is time for voices to be heard. It is time for understanding and partnership and linking arms. It is time to stop turning a blind eye. It is time for the perpetrating of hatred to end.
Before you knew, you didn’t know.
But now you know.