Highs and Lows

Hello, dear readers. We’ve made it to another Thursday.

I feel like this week has been a bit of a mixed bag for me. I’ve been anxious and tired, and my allergies are pretty bad right now (cottonwood season gets me every year).

On the other hand, I managed the very exciting achievement of saving up and paying for my dream instrument this week. It should arrive this weekend, and I am over the moon about it. It’s a new octave mandolin, and it’s SO PRETTY:

I’m so excited!

We also managed to get wedding invitations finished and emailed out this week, so that felt like an accomplishment.

I am going to keep this short again, but I want to leave you with this article from the Washington Post that I found challenging but helpful this week. If you’re white, please take the time to read it and sit with it a while – educating ourselves is important, but anti-racism is not an academic exercise. Dismantling white supremacy and the systemic oppression of Black people requires action, and not just in the moments when the Black Lives Matter movement is front and center in our social media feeds. This is lifelong work.

Keep Doing Something

Hello, dear readers – I actually remembered that it’s Thursday for once, so that’s something.

I think this is going to be another short post. Not much of note happened on a personal level this week; on the other hand, there’s been a LOT happening in the world at large. It feels like people are finally actually waking up to the reality of police brutality. Anti-racism resources abound (these links will take you to a few things I’ve found helpful this week), and people also seem to finally be coming around to the idea that being “not racist” is not enough – it is necessary to be actively anti-racist.

I definitely have a long way to go in this journey. I’m still figuring it out, and I recognize that unlearning white supremacy and anti-Blackness is the work of a lifetime. It’s going to require sustained effort for the rest of my life and it’s not going to be fun. But it’s necessary work.

If you’re looking for something to do this week, here’s a place to start. First, read this FAQ about defunding the police. Then, if you’re in the US, click here to go to a site that will help you email government officials about reallocating police budgets toward community resources (which is where that money belongs and can do much more good).

Do Something

Hi all, another late blog this week, and I’m going to keep it brief.

Yesterday was my birthday. It’s weird to celebrate in such a dark time when there’s so much heaviness in the world, but I am grateful to be here.

The past week we’ve seen a dramatic increase in white people’s awareness of the systemic oppression of Black people, and how awful cops are. We desperately need to defund the police.

Looking for ways to help? Start here.

When Gratitude is Not Enough

 

This post is going live on Thanksgiving.

I’ve gotta be honest, folks. The older I get and the more history I learn (and live), the less comfortable I am with this holiday.

I’m all for gratitude. But I am deeply uncomfortable with the way we gloss over the bloody history of white colonialism in the name of giving thanks.

I will not be thankful that I have little to fear from police, when police are murdering people who don’t look like me. I will not be thankful that my life is seen as more valuable because of the color of my skin. I will not be thankful that my position of privilege comes at the expense of other people’s lives.

I’ve struggled the past few weeks to not be overwhelmed by a feeling of helplessness in the face of so much darkness in the world (and particularly in the two places I think of as home), because if I allow that feeling to overwhelm me, it is so easy to become complacent.

I’m not sure where to go next, but there are people out in the world who are doing important work, so I am starting here, lending support to them in the most straightforward way that I can right this minute.

Donate to Black Lives Matter – Chicago
Donate to Black Lives Matter – Minneapolis

Looking for Light

I’ll be honest – I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say this week, and I’m still not totally sure that I’m saying what needs to be said, or that I’m saying what I am for the right reasons. But it is what it is.

I don’t often veer particularly political on this blog, but given recent events, it was really only a matter of time.

This seems to be one of those weeks that just feels so incredibly dark, not necessarily in my personal life, but in the world at large. People are being particularly horrible to each other, with notable examples in both states I have called home. I feel like every time I log into social media (which is where I get most of my news these days), there are more and more reasons to scream and feel really horrible about the state of humanity.

On the one hand, I don’t want to do anything to make light of the horrible things that are happening, and I think they deserve all the attention we can give them. On the other hand, I find myself looking around for reasons to believe that it’s not totally hopeless, because hopelessness is not a thing I can cope with right now.

It’s tempting to believe that the world is broken beyond repair. But you know, when I look into the darkness, that’s where I find the light.

I have friends protesting at the 4th precinct in Minneapolis (and supporting the protesters in innumerable ways), demanding #JusticeForJamar, facing arrest and police brutality as they stand up against corrupt power. I am so proud, and so in awe, of the incredible people I know, and I am well aware that I might not have that courage if I was in Minnesota right now. I know people who are facing off against incredible odds because they believe the world can be a better place, and they’re doing what needs to be done to make it so. Justice doesn’t come out of unjust situations on its own. It takes work to dismantle oppressive power structures, and I know people who are doing that work. They’re making me think about what concrete steps I can take to join them in that work. And they’re reminding me that as long as there are people willing and able to do the work, there’s a chance that the world won’t be such a horrible place forever.

Jamar Clark’s Family’s Fundraiser

#BlackLivesMatter Minneapolis Bail Fund