It’s been awhile – lots has happened since we last talked. I am doing well…my basil plants are growing tall, thanks for asking…you’re right I do have some grey in my beard…I hope that [insert personal anecdote here] for you is going well still.
Haha ok but really I do hope that you and your families are doing well. While the real or virtual interactions may be brief, making even the smallest connection has truly brought a lot of joy to my day(s).
I want to be clear, I have no better words of wisdom than those that have already been spoken with respect to the current protests on racism. My voice is not the one that should be heard. Self-reflection, honesty, action, and follow through – it’s the time for all of these things. It has been the right time for a long time but here we are. As a leader in the YEG community what I am writing here is what I am going to strive to be. I honestly do not think that you should care about these words – what I am about to write should be the norm. They are more for myself; to articulate in an open forum what I am striving for. I do not plan to use this forum to provide updates while on this path as it is not one with a finish line at the end. These words mean nothing without action and I hope that I can be but one example of those a part of the wave of change that we are seeing in our societies. Here it goes:
I strive to be someone who is willing to admit the times that I am racist and is willing to recognize the inequalities and the racial problems of our society and willing to challenge policy that causes or facilitates those inequalities. I do not want to be “not racist” I want to be “anti-racist;” I accept that neutrality is not enough when it comes to racism. I have no illusions as to the extent of how vulnerable I need to be and how much work is needed and I am sure I do not yet fully grasp the extent of this statement at the time of writing this. There were opportunities that I had growing up that others may not have had access to. It is not to negate mine or anyones effort or good things that they have put into their life but to acknowledge that I am not more or better than anyone. This is an example of the type of honesty that I must have with myself. Here is a definition of racism that really resonated with me:
Being racist is not a fixed category, it is not an identity. “Racist is a descriptive term. It describes what a person is saying or doing in any given moment. So when a person in one moment is expressing a racist idea in that moment they are being racist.” author and historian Ibram X. Kendi.
With all of this said I do not want this to be something like a company advertisement talking about how much “we care, we’re with you, in these challenging time, we’re in this together, etc. etc.” let my actions now and into the future speak to this commitment and if my idealism is not met in reality let me continue to step forward no matter how small the steps may be. As my friend and Co-leader Nadim wrote “…I’m not going to get there if I don’t start moving.”
Back in December of 2018 when I joined in as a leader I told you that my “why” for doing this NP thing was that: if in my ability to show up I can provide even one person a place to learn and grow not just physically but also mentally, I would be happy. I want to be able to be active when I am 90 and I want to still be learning and growing at that point too. Im sure you’ve been given lots of things to read or watch or educate yourself on and below is another small list. It’s not all encompassing but maybe one of them is something you haven’t read yet. I hope you can grow along with me and join in this wave of change.
I hope you are doing well, I hope that you are continuing to grow, and I hope that you
KEEP BEING AWESOME,