Monday Morning, June 1, 2020. This is a morning when I would rather not write anything. This is a moment when words are grossly inadequate to the task. This is the most mournful Monday in America that I can remember.
I was born in the 1960’s. Racial and social unrest were tearing through the country. We were at war. Our government was found to be corrupt, and our country was divided. Young people were protesting, mothers were weeping, our foundational ideals were quaking.
Written on the heart of that decade is also the founding of N Street Village. The 14th Street corridor burned after the killing of Dr. King. The mentally disabled were newly homeless and a drug epidemic was emerging. A new poverty was ravaging us and its claws were scratching a line right down the racial diamond of our city.
Have I just told you about history or have I told you about past this weekend?
Suffice to say, this moment is historic.
I am a white leader of an organization that serves mostly Black women. That’s because we serve people in poverty – which greatly disadvantages Black women. That’s also because of white privilege – which has greatly advantaged me.
So my job now is to use that advantage on behalf of others. At this very moment white allies and white leaders are needed to come forward – from everywhere. If I were Glinda the Good Witch I’d wave that damn wand wildly and hope that ALL white allies – rookie or regular – come running.
However, the only wand I have now is a keyboard – and what words are at all sufficient? A “description of our disgust at what we’ve seen?” A “decry of the entire history of white on Black violence”? A “lament that some of us thought lynching was history until we saw for ourselves what happened to Rodney King?”
No, today, my words fail.
I can only think of a fable: I had a yoga teacher once who – when having us bend forward – would say “surrender your head to your heart.” In our hearts we do not need words. We need only the willingness to surrender to feelings of grief and rage and fear on behalf of our Black and Brown neighbors and friends, and those Black and Brown neighbors and friends yet unmet.
Especially to those of us who are white, may we surrender. May we surrender our thinking heads to our feeling hearts. May we let ourselves be moved to anger and despair. And then be moved again. Then may we be changed. Then may we act. Then may we be moved again, changed again, and act – again.
We are working every day to create and maintain an anti-racist community at N Street Village. Join us – find out more about what we are doing at our Advocacy Page at www.nstreetvillage.org.