I want to say something. What should I say? Do I have the right to speak? Do I have the right thing to say? Should I use someone else’s words? Whose words are right? What is the right thing to say? Should I just not say anything at all?
I have struggled with all of these thoughts over the past week and to be honest I struggle anytime a controversial issue arises that rocks our nation. Politics, religion, sexism and most recently racism. I don’t remember my parents teaching me that racism was ugly and full of hate but I do remember feeling pain when I heard someone use a racial slur. It came natural to me that it wasn’t right to judge anyone over sex or race. When I was 13 I remember reading about Dr. King. I remember listening to the iconic 17 minute speech over and over. I remember correcting my elders when the wrong thing was said. I was comfortable knowing it was wrong at an early age.
I am comfortable, and I use that word purposefully to express my point, with #metoo #leanin #vote #pride #lgbtq. I am a strong supporter of women’s rights and the battles others have fought to give me my right to vote. I praise those who have spoken out about harassment hoping others will not be afraid to do the same. This blog is to help girls, women, ladies live their lives unashamed and free from judgement. I support the LGBTQ and feel comfortable expressing why everyone should have the same rights no matter how they identify sexually. I feel comfortable with those issues, rights, movements because they impact me, firsthand.
I can’t overlook what is going on and have never felt comfortable voicing my opinion about Black Lives Matter because I am a white woman. As a white woman I feel unqualified to have an opinion. But I do have an opinion. I am uncomfortable when I see the horror and I feel deeply when a new story breaks. It is a tug in the deepest part of my belly. A stabbing pain of anxiety. I say over and over in my head, “Why?” I know a lot of people are comfortable with expressing their opinions about race and injustice. I want to be clear…the pointless acts of violence are wrong; the senseless deaths are wrong. I don’t need to know all the names to know what is happening in our country is wrong. The peaceful protesting is right – the message needs to be heard by lawmakers, community leaders and people like me. I can say that all lives matter, but I know that isn’t what this is about. I know that as a woman I have been judged and continue to be judged because of my sex. I can only imagine what my friends of a different color might go through. I know its real and its wrong. I am comfortable with standing up for that.
As this week starts with a new month and a new challenge for our country to overcome I pray that real change will happen and I pray that those of us who are uncomfortable with saying something, the right thing, will have the courage to admit we don’t know what the right thing is to say.
Until I learn, and become more comfortable voicing my opinion and the right thing to say to support the cause, I will remind myself what I believe in. I support all human rights, I believe no one should be judged by the color of their skin. I believe law enforcement is there to protect us from ourselves. I believe in the judicial system. I believe in voting for those law makers passionate about making real change. I believe in supporting my friends and family brave enough to protest for the rights of others. I believe in change.
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” – Martin Luther King Jr.