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