2020 is NOT letting up, is it? We’re still grappling with Covid-19, which means schools, businesses, and much else about our “normal” lives is still anything but normal.
As is so often the case, life has not presented us with just one thing to focus our attentions on. In recent months, there have been incidents of extreme injustice that have brought years of racial inequality into stark relief for the nation as a whole. In the era of camera phones and social media, it is impossible to argue the facts of what happened to Ahmaud Arbery, what happened to George Floyd, and what happened to Breonna Taylor. The murder of these black people have stoked outrage, as it should.
This outrage has not been solely for these three victims of unprovoked brutality. It’s the culmination of years of pent up grief and anger at the injustice of a broken system. A system that we, as a nation, have allowed to continue relatively unchecked for far too long.
And so, in recent months, the affected segment of our populationhas grown loud. Black people are pleading: For us all to take their struggle seriously. To not confuse or dilute their message. To understand. To be their allies. To give them the same rights and humanity that are afforded other citizens in our nation. To acknowledge that systemic racism (whether we acknowledge our role in it or not) is something that dictates how they get to live every day.
On Tuesday this week, many on social media (ourselves included) participated in #blackouttuesday, where we paused our normal feed to show up in solidarity with our black sisters and brothers. It was, though flawed in the eyes of some, a step that many took to say “ok, I’m taking a moment to pay attention and hopefully help in some way, even if I feel unsure of what that means.”
We can’t speak for all, but we want to clarify our message. We participated in #blackouttuesday to say this: “We’re listening. We’re grieving for your many losses. We’re TRYING to learn more. We are ACTIVELY participating. We SUPPORT you. We support #BlackLivesMatters.”
Sounds ok, but for those of you that might be wondering what that actually translates to in action? We want to be explicit with how we’re trying. These are the things we’re doing:
- Having difficult conversations with adult family members and friends, challenging each other to identify and pinpoint our respective roles in a society that has allowed and accepted racial inequality as our norm.
- Speaking with our young children about what racism means, how it’s a learned way of thinking and living that we must actively work to unlearn and not perpetuate.
- Listening – to shared messages from members of the black community, the law enforcement community and, yes, also the white community – to understand the different perspectives.
- Reading – about the deep history of racial inequity in our country and about some of the many stories of lives that have been unnecessarily cut short.
- Supporting black owned businesses by actively seeking them out and patronizing them.
- Reaching out to our local law enforcement offices to better understand what policies they have in place so that we can work within our own communities to advocate for and vote for proper reform.
- Reflecting on our own privileges and acknowledging how we have benefited from a societal structure that has kept others oppressed.
These are the things we’re doing. Are they enough? On their own, no. We are not so naive as to believe that to be the case. We’re realists who understand that the task of implementing real and lasting reform of both mindset and policy is not only complicated, but difficult. There is much work to be done, and the struggle will continue long after the protests slow down.
However, we are also by nature, hopeful. No matter how dire the circumstances, no matter how frustrating (or enraging) the information we digest…we remain hopeful. Why? Simply put, we don’t see any other way around it. We have children to raise. We have future generations to consider. We have global and local issues that cannot be ignored (Covid, climate change, education) any more than BLM can be ignored. We have our individual lives to keep living, paychecks that need to be earned… even as we continue to put in the work to amplify the voices of those who need us to support them.
Today would have marked the 27th birthday of Breonna Taylor. We write her name and we speak it out loud because her life mattered. Her death matters. The changes that will lead to fewer deaths like hers are necessary. We have hope that they can happen. In the meantime, we will keep listening. We will keep trying to learn. And we will keep working to be the allies that we would want for ourselves, for our own children.
We began Better With Sisters for many reasons, but the first and foremost was to cultivate connection. That is still and will always be our main focus. We believe in spreading positivity and support for ALL our sisters. We also believe in looking forward to our future with hope and optimism.
So, while our future posts will continue to be varied in nature, please know that it does not detract from the work we know still needs to be done and the work we continue to do. We encourage you, as always, to connect with us and let us know what’s on your mind.
With sisterly love,
Cathy & Lan