How am I?
I’m doing moderately okay. I have felt a lot of love and support over the last weeks since the mass shooting of Asian women in Atlanta in particular. The toll of the Coronavirus, having kids at home, many other family and human things going on is exacting.
But this work is both exhausting and fulfilling. It fills my cup in a way that I feel purpose: I have a voice and people are listening to me in a meaningful way.
As a non-white person I often feel that the world is looking to those of us victimized by racism to share the experience of our trauma to help them understand what we mean, then asking us to come up with its solutions as well. This is not a viable strategy, for reasons that should be self-evident.
Some of my best and biggest supporters are physicians. They check in on me after a dramatic email or maybe about a cry I had in the parking lot.
Part of the challenge of a large organization is creating the feeling of connection. Being open and transparent and checking in about what is happening in the world is an opportunity to connect and remove barriers between us.
Being anti-racist requires admitting that we are not perfect. Racial justice issues need to be aired and talked about more in order to cultivate greater understanding.
This means overcoming fear and risking exposure to “not knowing the right thing to say.” Awkwardness is part of the cost of admission to anti-racist work.
The first steps in supporting those affected by systemic racism is to accept that you can never fully understand what these people are going through.
The effort should be towards believing people, having faith and not requiring proof or understanding to know that their experiences are real. Acknowledge that perspectives and different experiences exist and hold space.
To keep making progress, it’s important to grow allyship in anti-racism. To be an anti-racist ally is to use some of the privilege given to you by accident of birth to meet the needs of those who did not get the same privilege.
The path ahead
For me, the overwhelming feeling that there is so much to do is tempered by how I can see things changing. I will continue to do this work because, frankly, it is too important to be left undone.
It’s heartening to see that each time I put my shoulder to this boulder and begin pushing it up the hill again, there are more and more people by my side. The companionship and encouragement of others keeps me going.
If I kept pushing the rock up the hill over and over and over on my own and found there was no one here to help me, I would give up. But I keep pushing it up the hill and, more and more often, find new people working to take the weight with me.