In the wake of the shootings in Charleston, SC, it does not feel appropriate to make a planned announcement regarding a shift in direction for Learn + Explore + Share without first publishing this response to the murders at Emanuel AME.
The context of my quiet suburban life is very white. If I'm honest, I will tell you I love being in a metropolitan area full of different cultures and colors ... and I will admit to having only a few acquaintances who represent those different cultures and colors. I see myself as open-minded and anti-racist, yet more often than not, outside of my own home, I fail to speak up in support of neighbors and friends whose skin happens to be a different color than mine. What can I possibly do, I've often asked myself, beyond teaching my children to love all people of all cultures and colors and beliefs?
A young man was radicalized within a racist community in my own country. He murdered nine innocent and loving people. In their church.
In my (mostly) white suburban community, there is no sign that this terrorist act happened less than a week ago. In my (mostly) white suburban church service Sunday, Charleston was mentioned parenthetically in the sermon and mentioned in prayer requests right along with prayer requests for congregants who are ill or grieving loved ones or celebrating a big anniversary.
Where is the prayer to request an end to racism in this broken country? I wondered.
Where is the outrage?
Where is the overwhelming sorrow that a terrorist sat in a Bible study for an hour only to kill those who'd welcomed him?
Where is the call to pull together? To act?
It turns out it's up to me. It's up to me to pray. It's up to me to express my outrage and sorrow. It's up to me to pull together with my neighbors. It's up to me to act.
And it's up to you.
This is not a time for waiting to be called upon. For waiting to be rallied by others. It's a time for speaking up. It's a time for thinking differently. It's a time for asking hard questions and having difficult conversations.
And, in a style consistent with this blog's content, I continue to learn, explore and share.
- I'm learning facts about the confederate flag (at PBS.org and here).
- As a lifelong northerner, I was naively surprised to learn (through this blog post) that many schools and streets in the south are named for confederate leaders.
- Curious to uncover real demographics for the two middle schools in our school district, I learned that the "preferred" middle school has twice as many white students as black, and the middle school my daughter attends, which is perceived as "lesser," has twice as many black students as white.
- I'm exploring what I can say. And to whom I can say it.
- I'm exploring what I can do. And when and how.
- Through my explorations, I've discovered suggestions like these:
- Support the removal of the confederate flag in South Carolina.
- Let's Get to the work of Anti Racism (writer and educator Kelly Wickham offers several suggestions and resources along with her own commentary).
- Here and now, I'm sharing my perspective that it's time to do something to end racism in this country.
- With my family—especially with my daughters—I'm sharing my values: that loving my neighbor means loving every neighbor, no matter what; that some people behave despicably but that we can have faith in humanity; that it's up to each of us to speak up and to do something ... and that, together, we can truly make a difference.
Update 23 June 2015: Though the option to comment here will, by default, close after a period of time, I have chosen to allow comments on this blog post. At this point, almost 12 hours after publishing the post, no comments have been posted. That said, at Learn + Explore + Share, I will not tolerate hate. I reserve the right to remove any comments that I deem unproductive, destructive, hateful or offensive.