“One day when the glory comes; It will be ours, it will be ours; Oh one day when the war is won; We will be sure, we will be sure; Oh glory”- John Legend and Common
Heeeyy… it’s been awhile. Busy….Kid. Family. Work. Volunteer stuff. Friends. Dating. Plus I am co-hosting a new podcast called Elevate Maryland with my friend, Tom Coale. And I’m having a lot of fun with that. We get to talk about important issues in our county, state, country and we interview some interesting people from around our state. Check it out.
But this past week was a tough one for me so I’m banging this out on my phone.
Folks, what happened in Charlottesville and on the campus of UVA last week was horrifying. Frightening. Terrifying. I mean, armed white supremacists walked through the streets and on the campus of a higher education institution. And they chanted hateful words meant to intimate and strike fear in the hearts of people who don’t look like them, worship like them, love like them. It’s hard for me to even type that. It’s just a lot to process.
And just like when other horrific national events occur, it seems that good people try to figure out what action they can take so that said incident doesn’t happen in their state, city, town, county. Or they think their state, city, town, county is special so “it couldn’t happen in <insert name of special town here>”. Well, it can and it will if good people don’t stand up and speak out. I’m sure the good folks of Charlottesville couldn’t imagine making national news in the way they did this week.
So what are you going to do?
Let’s start local.
Speak up when you hear your neighbor say something about “that family” or “those kids”.
If you’re in the majority, listen when minorities talk about racism. Just please listen.
Visit a mosque, synagogue, church. And take a friend.
Don’t sit silent when your friends, relatives, moms group members say racist, hateful things on social media (or in person!) about certain schools and certain communities and certain people.
Donate to the local NAACP or PFLAG or a Jewish organization or find an anti hate group and send them a few bucks.
Invite someone who doesn’t look like you/worship like you/love like you to dinner. And just get to know them.
Push for equity in education, housing, entrepreneurship opportunities, healthcare, politics, etc.
If you’re in a leadership role, look around the table in the boardroom. Look at the diversity (or lack thereof) of your team or the executive leadership. If it’s not inclusive, ask why not?
Look at your board…is it reflective of the diversity of your community? If not, make the effort to change it. Now.
Ask your elected officials to remove monuments that celebrate Confederate leaders.
Research candidates for elected office. VOTE.
This isn’t rocket science and I’m not claiming to be an expert…but I do have a voice. And while I’ve not said anything super profound or written some publish-worthy extended essay, I hope this can serve as a reminder that fighting back against hate will require folks to have difficult conversations and some serious self awareness. It may require folks to challenge their current organizational structure. It may mean that you lose some friends (I promise you’ll also gain some) and that some family members won’t speak to you again until Thanksgiving. It will mean you need to reach out of your comfort zone.
But doing nothing just isn’t acceptable. Silence is not an option.