Today I was gifted the opportunity to talk at a Black Lives Matter march in the community I have been teaching in for the last 8 years. I was extremely uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone. But the organizer, a parent at my school reassured me that I can do this and I should. She even said that as someone I have come across in my journey it’s her job to push me. I needed to write out what I wanted to say to make sure I had my thoughts right. Here are the words I chose to share thanks to Katie.
I know my story isn’t the most important one right now. I know I should be elevating and amplifying voices of color. But, maybe my story will help someone else. So here I am! I’m not perfect and I’m definitely still learning.
I haven’t always been on this journey. I used to think all lives matter I didn’t understand why people were separating black lives from everyone else. I didn’t understand my white privilege. I thought because I grew up in a working class home we struggled too so how bad can it be. Over the last several years I have leaned into discomfort. I’ve spent time listening, reading and learning about race and racism in America. That’s my white privilege – to learn and not experience. I’ve learned that while my family struggled, we didn’t struggle because of our skin color and our struggles haven’t been because of generations of descrimination. That’s my white privilege. I learned the reason we say black lives matter is because black lives are in danger. An just in case this is new to you, it’s ok to change your mind when you learn new information. You can change your stance on an issue. I did. Black women matter. Black men matter. Black lgbtq+ matter. Black lives matter.
I see myself as an ally in this fight. I’m here today as an ally. But I’m working to be more than an ally. I want to be an accomplice. So I’m here to talk to other allies. You see, an ally knows that racism is a problem in this country. An accomplice speaks out against the injustice. An ally is self reflective and knows their implicit bias. An accomplice helps others discover theirs. An ally carries a sign and posts to social media but an accomplice continues the work when it’s no longer trending. An ally sees race and values it. An accomplice appropriately centers the conversation around speaking their truth and opening themselves to the perspectives of POCs. An ally does the work on themselves. An accomplice educates their children. An ally shows up but an accomplice holds your hand. An ally is not racist. An accomplice is actively anti racist.
Thank you Katie for trusting me and for helping me take one more step toward being an accomplice in this fight.