For Juneteenth, I want to share something that really struck me this week, and that really drives home why we all need to stay as loud as we can be:
Earlier this week, I was speaking with someone in NorCal who is consistently VERY well-informed about what’s happening in the world. This person brought up Robert Fuller and Malcolm Harsch. I asked, yeah but what about Dominique Alexander in New York, the teenager in Harris County, TX, and the man in Shady Acres outside of Houston? This person was dumbstruck. Hadn’t heard about them. At all.
Y’all. THIS STUFF IS NOT BEING REPORTED. We, in Los Angeles, are at the epicenter of these protests, the Coronavirus, the clashes with police, all of it. We’re immersed in it (except for those who are intentionally and willfully ignoring what’s happening. And yeah, we’ve noticed that silence). But much of the rest of the country is sleeping on what’s happening.
We need to stay loud.
If you’ve got family in Wisconsin, get loud.
If you’ve got friends in Ohio, get loud.
If you’ve got a sister-in-law in Texas, get loud!
Your voice matters.
Lemme say that again: YOUR. VOICE. MATTERS.
You can be the difference between your mom’s bible study group in Scottsdale voting one way in November… or the other. And don’t get this twisted: this is a matter of life and death.
Nazi propaganda imagery in campaign ads.
70,000 children separated from their parents and detained at the border (for perspective, that’s more than all of Daytona Beach’s population), and six dead of preventable causes.
And the dude LITERALLY said injecting disinfectant and/or drinking bleach could save you from the Coronavirus.
So, today’s Juneteenth.
(And no, that belligerent, using-chemical-weapons-against-peaceful-protestors-for-a-photo-op-with-a-bible, racist, xenophobic, pandering, IMPEACHED, time-and-time again bankrupted, scam university-owning adulterer-who-paid-off-a-porn-star-for-her-silence in the White House DID NOT “[make] Juneteenth very famous.”)
In honor of today, I’m begging you, if you’re reading this, please, PLEASE (if you aren’t already) do just a few things:
1. If you don’t know the history of why Juneteenth is important, all you’ve got to do is either look it up, or for a fun way of researching and getting a solid once-over, watch the Black-Ish episode about it (season 4, episode 1; on Hulu).
2. At minimum, sign some petitions and share them. I have a whole list on my website under the “Advocate” tab. If you can’t find it, let me know.
3. And this is the most important: SPEAK. OUT. Post on facebook, share on instagram, or better yet: use today to call (or, for real, if it’s just too daunting, at least email) that either overt or covert racist from every Thanksgiving you’ve had to endure.
And, on the flip side, if you’ve been in the trenches for either the last few weeks or, you know, forever, when you need to take a break, take a freaking break. And if you need a mental permission slip, I posted a blog yesterday here and on my website that might help. Take the rest you need. And take as much of it as you need. This is a marathon. A lot of us, myself for sure included, tend to try to run it at a sprint pace. So, if that’s you, maybe today is an opportunity to figure out your ideal rhythm; speak out, read a book. Call a bunch of legislators, take a nap. Whatever works for you.
But if you’re reading this and saying, “Well, no one wants to hear from me,” here it is in plain black and white: YES WE DO. Share Black and Brown people’s stories. Share petitions and sign them. Donate to BLM, the NAACP, and bail funds. Then tell your people where they can do the same. Because in all likelihood, they’re not sure where to start, either.
And, in the meantime, if you get stressed out by it all, call up a white friend and tell them you need to vent and talk it out. And if they don’t want to hear it, then send them every petition and article you’ve just gone through and move on to try to vent to another white friend. (And if that racial specificity seems shocking or jarring to you, I encourage you to look up the concept of “Ring Theory” and “venting” or “dumping outward” / “comforting inward.”)
I’ll close with this: I saw a picture being circulated this week that really hit me in the soft and tenders. It was of an older white man, in his wheelchair, face mask on, sign on his chest that said “Black Lives Matter,” and another sign on a piece of poster board attached to a plank sticking up over his head that said, “Sorry I’m Late. I Had A Lot To Learn.”
It’s okay to be late. Just get here.