Racism Is Real, And We Have To Do Better

2020 is turning out to be scarier than I thought.

While in the midst of a worldwide pandemic…A murder. Protests. Riots. Businesses looted. Buildings in flames. Yelling from both “sides” of which I could not even fathom another side to a murder…

Our country has been through a lot this past week and my heart is heavy. As I watch the news, I see so many people affected and hurting. And it hurts my heart, too.

I hurt seeing George Floyd’s brother crying on national television, trying to grasp the senseless loss of his brother.

I hurt seeing peaceful protestors and completely innocent bystanders get thrown to the ground, beaten, and tased.

I hurt seeing our first responders and officers in scary situations, many of whom are good people, and wonder if their families are okay, too.

I hurt seeing mom and pop shops being looted by people taking advantage of this situation, losing everything they’ve worked so hard for.

You might read those sentences above and say, “Well, ___ is happening because ___ is happening, and honestly, they deserve it.” But this plays into stereotypes, generalizations, and pre-judgements. Not everyone is one way. And my heart hurts because at the bottom of it all, we’re all just humans trying to do our very best. I really do believe this. But of course, there are exceptions.

Even as events unfold that try to deter us, we can’t forget the most important message: #BlackLivesMatter. As many black leaders have explained, this is not saying that black lives are more important than any other lives, but that they are equal.

Black people have faced oppression since the founding of our country, leading to systemic racism. If you are not black, you’ll never understand what it’s like, but what you can do is listen, understand, and help ignite change.

Everyone has the right to do their part in their own ways. Whether it’s going out and protesting, donating to an organization or affected families, or posting about it – anything – it all helps. We even shared some resources on POPFLEX about ways you can help. But the MOST important thing you can do is to stand up for the human rights of black people. Call out racism when you see it. Have the hard conversations. Stand up for what you believe in.

Some people will be grateful and hear you out with open arms. Others may be cruel. But don’t let that deter you. This is about the right for basic human rights. The right to live will always be a fight worth fighting.

This week, I encourage you to listen. Take a moment to really absorb what is happening in our world, hear out community leaders, and think about where you want to make a change. Together, we can do this.

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