Since the advent of this blog and social media in general, I have tended to keep my deeper feelings offline. I imagine that my political leanings and sense of social justice can be read between the lines, but I've rarely been overt about them. However...
There is systemic and pervasive inequality and unfairness in this country that has been worsening steadily throughout my lifetime. I need look no further than the state where I grew up to see the fallout from one egregious example playing out right now.
I can tell from reading my Facebook feed that a lot of people, particularly those in a position of relative privilege, are having difficulty grasping what is happening and why. Here's a short interview with Jamilah Lemieux of Ebony Magazine that I think really says a lot.
I'm also observing many people who, willfully or not, can't seem to observe this situation from other perspectives. Chuck Wendig wrote what I feel is a very powerful post about cultivating empathy.
I'm not quite sure of what my role can and should be in trying to address these societal ills, but this article has some very reasonable suggestions. Most of them are just a start, but it's vital to educate yourself, even if only in service to not being part of the problem.
If you're feeling helpless and want to do one simple thing right now? How about a donation to the Ferguson Public Library?
I completely understand the impulse to despair at the state of things in our country right now. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't had some serious conversations about moving away and starting over somewhere else. But no. That is not the solution, it's just an avoidance of the hard work it is going to take to find solutions.
These problems we have—and they are numerous and far-reaching—can only be solved by people standing together to make changes happen. That means demanding accountability and true representation from government leaders, rolling up our sleeves and working to give all communities an equal chance to succeed, and resolving not to rest until wrongs are righted.
That is far, far more easily said than done, but it must be done. It must.
Photo source: BZ Tat