Love Letter to America | Colibri Digital Marketing
Protests are rocking the United States right now in response to the murder of George Floyd, and all the black lives that continue to be harmed and destroyed, as a result of racism. As the world begins to wake up and speak out against the inherent racism that forms our institutions, George Floyd’s unjust death has rallied a booming cry for equality and change.
We at Colibri have been staying informed, having conversations, and using our platform to support our Black brothers and sisters. To echo a sentiment spread by those who will never truly understand the lives and fears of the Black community, “I understand I will never understand. However, I stand”. Below are individual words from our team.
Words From the Team
Many white people, especially those who, like me, are “trying to help,” experience themselves as “innocent” when it comes to white supremacy. Yet we help from the safety and comfort of clean neighborhoods, organic food, expensive schools, and the ability to retreat as needed.
Yet safety, comfort, and financial stability are (likely) goals for everyone, whites, immigrants, indigenous people, and people of color alike. White people must ask themselves why, in 2020, do we have more of these things than anyone else? What, really, is the answer to that question?
Now that righteous rage is finding its feet and fists, white people are surprised by so much fear for personal safety, anxiety experienced somatically, and the reality that the rage is somehow directed at us. Similarly, Americans were surprised on September 11, 2001, when rage ripped through the twin towers in New York City. I was not surprised. America exports terror and exploitation on a regular basis.
Domestically, too, white and privileged Americans wage a form of domestic terror against populations made to stay perpetually vulnerable. Anger is a natural outcome. Enough is truly enough.
Here is my message to white America: Stop being surprised. Acknowledge that we white people are not innocent. We, with our organic tomatoes, gluten free bread, and fancy schools are complicit. We have more. Others have less. We have not shared the wealth, health, and safety we have, and as scarcity during a COVID-fueled economic downturn threatens the 80%, self-protection and parsimony are as likely as any other response.
Yes, to the extent that our help and willingness to change is conditional on our continued comfort, we are the enemy. I said: To the extent that our help is conditional on our continued comfort, we are the enemy.
And yet spiritual traditions ask us to love our enemies and some of the most lasting and profound change in the history of humanity has been caused by a powerful wielding of peace by people whose love and self-discipline managed to be greater than hate. One of the most brilliant thinkers of the 20th Century, Dr. Martin Luther King, often preached on the topic of loving your enemies.
MLK wrote and preached “In the 5th Chapter of Matthew’s gospel verses 42 and 3 we find these pressing words flowing from the lips of our Lord and Master: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’”
And he continues with, “Far from being the impractical idealist, Jesus has become the practical realist and the words of our text glitter in our eyes with a new pertinance. Instead of being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Love is the key to the solution of the world’s problem, yes even love for enemies [emphasis mine].”
So, while hate and anger are natural responses to sustained injustice, it’s love that will transform us.
I think it’s really hard to make an opinion about something like this from the outside because I can’t pretend to know what it’s like. And it is something so delicate, it’s lives we’re talking about. The only thing I can really talk about is from the experience of being someone that supports and has protested for change and freedom, I know what it’s like to feel so much rage and impotence (not in the same level, as racism has existed for centuries) but violence causes death and at least from what I’ve seen even more suffering. That’s what I’ve seen, but I don’t know what kind of actions really work to get change. I’m just sending lots of love to your country.
Like Alessandra said before, it’s really hard to make an opinion about something like this from the outside. We have had our fair share of protests here in Venezuela, and to some extent, we understand the pain, the frustration, and the anger that come along with it. I just want you all to know I stand with you, I honor you, and I applaud you for seeking change and justice in your country. I wish you all so much love and strength. As Anna said, now is truly the time to #LeadWithLove.
The best advice I can give to you from the distance is to turn all those emotions into inspiration and focus on how you can grow from this situation. Change always starts from looking within ourselves and there are always new things to learn and discover to be better and do better.
My heart aches for all Black lives. Watching videos, reading about America’s history, and seeing far too many Black people killed to the point where they have to explicitly teach their children how to deal with the police, is heartbreaking. The police’s duty is to serve and protect everyone, but we have seen a horrifying amount of racial profiling directed towards Blacks that often ends in the use of violence. #BlackLivesMatter is a movement that goes beyond acknowledging that all Black lives matter. It’s a movement that demands change. Racism and systemic oppression have always perpetuated our country and government. That is not equality, and that is not justice.
We, as a world, can do better. We have the power to collectively come together and use our privilege to speak up for change. This can begin with having difficult conversations in your home, using your platform to spread resources, and amplifying your voice to demand that those who unfairly hurt others be held accountable for their actions. Another huge step we can all take together is to vote. In order to translate our demands for change into actionable laws and practices, it’s important to vote for candidates who will act on reform. We should be turning up to vote at every level- local, state, and federal- because each individual tier has a direct impact on whether our government handles social justice issues with dignity and care. There’s a long road ahead before change is truly implemented, but we can all contribute our efforts to inspire and achieve that change right now, today.
It’s horrible to think that today my black friend can’t walk down the street alone or with friends without being insulted, or being stared at. It existing a lot of discrimination in our society.
Like in the past with “I have a dream”, the black community still has to demonstrate and speak out to claim their rights.
It is our duty to support each other and we should walk hand in hand for a better life, and more in these difficult period.
What is happening in America is devastating right now. The video of George Floyd sparked such outrage in not only the black community, but in America as a whole. So much so that many more have died in protests and riots around the country, hundreds have been injured and millions of dollars worth of damage has occurred. What is even more sickening is that our own President has been so ignorant on the matter. He has tweeted racial slurs, calling his own american people “thugs” and exclaiming, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Basically encouraging open fire on the american people. If anything, cops and law enforcement should be here to protect the american citizens, and not harm them. This makes it so much harder when our own president is encouraging these awful acts and further dividing the population in a time we should all be coming together.
It makes my heart heavy and fills me with anger that we have sent people to the moon and still murder people because of the color of their skin, that we have created vaccines to cure diseases and still tolerate institutionalized racism.
As we move forward during these unstable times, it’s important to remember that we can make a change. I believe change grows from the inside out, from challenging your own beliefs, educating yourself and turning your thoughts into actions. By coming together, recognizing our individual roles and duties, using our voices without silencing someone else’s, we can build justice, safety and ensure freedom for Black people in America and throughout the world.
As an African American, a U.S. Navy Veteran, and a Returned Citizen; I am and have been directly affected by the social inequalities and injustices that have been ingrained into the social fabric of this country. I know first-hand “what is wrong” and why, and how after the murder of George Floyd, it has so many people — of all different races and backgrounds — in such an uproar. But this racism has been going on for over 400 years, so being the solution-based person that I am, the real question should be “ Where do we go from here?” In order to own that our lives are an act of “intentions”, we have to give up the idea (and narrative) that we are VICTIMS. This may not be an easy sell for many people of color. Many people have a difficulty in giving up the yoke of “victimhood” for several reasons. They may have built an entire identity around being victimized, knowing themselves ONLY through their burdens. Some may feel that being victims brings them much desired love and compassion from others. Perhaps they are attached to punishing their perpetrators by making them witness “#Black Lives Matter” protests year after year. Others may feel that “no one” has truly heard and understood black people’s pains as of yet, and so they couldn’t possibly just let it go. These are all understandable reasons to continue on under the weight of victimhood. Yet that price tag is incredibly high for all parties involved. Simply put, remaining a victim costs me a whole lot of LOVE…Hopefully, as a nation, we will be able to alter our interpersonal relationships with one another by inspiring each other to the wonderful world of possibilities that exist for the citizens of this country, all of us, by giving up hatred, and learning how to love…#LeadWithLove.
It’s hard to speak out against social and racial injustices, especially if you’ve never spoken out before. Educating yourself with the many resources circulating the internet and social media (always double-check for credibility!) is the first step in taking tangible action to support #BlackLivesMatter. Have more conversations with family and friends. By talking first to those who support the movement, you’ll be able to tackle the more uncomfortable (but much more needed) conversations with those who don’t understand. Signing petitions, donating, protesting, and voting, are all other ways you can help right now.
There’s a ton of resources out there, so we’ve compiled a list to help you get started.
Videos, Movies, and Shows
- Intersectionality Matters!
- Pod for the Cause
- So You Want to Talk About Race- Ijeoma Oluo
- White Fragility- Robin DiAngelo
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings- Maya Angelou
- Black Feminist Thoughts- Patricia Hill Collins
Organizations to Donate to:
- Black Lives Matter
- National Bail Fund Network
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- Know Your Rights Camp
- North Star Health Collective
Black activists have been working on these issues for literally hundreds of years. From the slaves who tried to gain their freedom and early abolitionists to Martin Luther King and the founders of #BlackLivesMatter, transforming racism and white supremacy has been a heart and backbreaking endeavor within the black and ally communities.
Whatever the zeitgeist, real change now seems like a tantalizing possibility.
The most important thing we can do now, whether we are black or any other race or ethnicity is to stay in conversation, keep promoting black economic well-being, and encourage social and political momentum so that meaningful change can happen and our black brothers and sisters can finally get the peace, safety, and justice they deserve.
Have ideas? Want to talk about it? Reach out to Colibri Digital Marketing. Let’s do our part to make change happen now.
Originally published at https://colibridigitalmarketing.com on June 11, 2020.