This year has been tough, right?
Pandemic, protests, lockdown, life carrying on.
Working from home, teaching from home. Entertaining, educating, feeding & maintaining a home.
Finding joy in little things. Finding slots for online supermarket shopping. Finding space for all the empty courier packaging.
Reaching out, keeping in touch – Zoom, Teams, FaceTime, WhatsApp – even Instagram has a video call function now!
Finding a mask (that fits), wearing a mask (and getting maskne!), and finding ways to (respectfully) keep our distance and make sense of the official guidelines – now more than a metre but less than two?!
And, throughout all of this, an awareness that racism is somehow related. That even in a pandemic, black lives apparently don’t matter as much we assumed they did. That there might be more work to do – the Civil Rights era might not have ended when we were taught it did.
More to learn?
More to read?
More to watch?
When we’re already so full?
Not everything, but yes, more than we were doing.
Because racism doesn’t take a break while we wait for a better time to deal with it.
Because the reality won’t change just by wishing it to be so.
Because ignoring it hasn’t worked, or else we wouldn’t be where we are today.
For those of us who were raised to “not see colour” in an effort to avoid prejudice, it can feel uncomfortable and even seem racist to pay attention to the colour of people’s skin. But unfortunately, when we are not aware of issues, then we are not able to fix problems that are happening in our society.
For example, did you know, that here in the UK, black women are 5 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women?
Or that black British people are nearly 4 times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act than white British people?
Or that, on average, British citizens from ethnic minority backgrounds have to send 60% more job applications to get a positive response from employers compared to their white counterparts?
It doesn’t sound right, does it?
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
As Glennon Doyle says, we can do hard things.
That doesn’t mean we do ALL the hard things at once, but it means we choose courage over comfort. We choose empathy over apathy. We choose to look at problems rather than looking away.
It’s both/and, not either/or – we can cope with our own challenges AND accept the reality of other people’s lived experiences.
It doesn’t sound so hard when you put it like that, does it?
So what will you do today to make a difference?
If you’re not sure where to begin, there are lots of resources here to help you get started.