White people in America are clearly steeped in a very real moment. We are being urged to listen, reckon, reflect and act. We are being asked, in so many ways, to open our ears, our eyes, our hearts and our brains in ways that many of us have never done before. And in doing so, there will certainly be feelings of guilt, remorse, sadness, outrage, confusion, compassion and a myriad of other emotions and impulses coursing through us.
However, if done right, what can come from this breakthrough societal moment cannot be denied. Taking the lead from communities of color, what will emerge is a clarity to drive forward the efforts needed to break the cycles of oppression and racism — to dismantle the systems that validate oppression and racism.
Together, we will build a just system that honors and respects all life. This is not only possible, but inevitable.
In a recent New York Times op-ed drafted by William Barber II, Liz Theoharis, Timothy B. Tyson and Cornel West entitled, “What the Courage to Change History Looks Like”, they said this:
“Cries of ‘I can’t breathe’ call out in compelling shorthand, America’s enduring racial chasm in every measure of well-being: health care and infant mortality, wages and wealth, unemployment, education, housing, policing and criminal justice, water quality and environmental safety. The bills that bustle through our legislatures offer narrow reforms of police procedures and bypass the fullness of what the protesters are saying: The children of privilege are protected not by a higher grade of policing, but by deeper layers of resources and that is what ought to protect all of our children.”
Read more at the Eugene Weekly
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By Michelle Holman
Michelle Holman is a community organizer for Community Rights Lane County and the Oregon Community Rights Network.