Humans, We Have a Problem
I'm a forty year old white guy living in the suburbs. I have two great kids, a loving wife and a dog who loves me. Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm an optimist. but passionate about making the world around me a better place.
The United States of America is a country I love with my heart and soul. But, over the last few years it continues to become apparent that we've got a lot of work to do when it comes to respecting our fellow man.
When the Michael Brown announcement was made I was surprised. I didn't know all the facts and hoped that the people who were presented them all had made the right decision. Sure, he didn't need to be shot and killed, but I also didn't think it was murder. But, none of us had all the facts, so none of us knew for sure.
Then earlier this week it was announced that no one would stand trial for the death of Eric Garner and I was furious.
I remember when the video of him standing on the street, being approached by the cop and then being choked to death on camera was shown on the news I made a comment about how wrong it was and how we were looking at a group of cops going to jail.
How could any person watch that video see anything other than one man killing another. How could any person watch that video and not say the man must stand trial?
It would be too easy to not say anything. This could be written off as "not my problem."
It is everyone's problem.
I don't want my kids growing up in a world where bigotry and racism is so out in the open. Where who you love, what religion you follow or the color of your skin has anything to do with you as a person.
A world where those with power, authority and money don't have to be accountable for the harm they cause.
Last night, I wanted to go to the protests here in Boston. Schedules would not permit it. They won't allow me to go to the big march in DC on the 13th either, but my heart will be with all who do.
I feel guilty for not being there last night. That it is always too easy to say that other things get in the way. Struggle of any sort is never easy.
What can I do to make things better? What can you do to make them better?
I have a voice. I have a community. A small slice of the world reads what I say and reacts to what I do. How can I not do something?
I'm angry, sad and choosing my words way too carefully right now. My heart wants me to just scream WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!?!?!?!?
But only screaming, yelling and pointing fingers will solve nothing.
My parents taught me to treat others like you want to be treated. When I watch the actions and words of those in power I constantly ask myself why their parents forgot to teach them this.
The golden rule should be color/religion/preference/gender blind and yet it rarely is.
I don't know what I can do to help solve this problem, but I know silence solves nothing.
Questlove put out a call to artists to stand up and use their creative powers to raise awareness and help.
Karen Walrond's words this morning touched me so much that it pushed me to write this today.
I've said for a long time that I want to use my powers for good. This post is the tiniest of baby steps, but I had to write it.
Now, I call on you (and me) to use whatever we have to help fix this problem. It won't happen over night. It won't be easy. It is a problem that applies to your neighborhood. It does apply to you no matter what color your skin is. You being nervous or scared to share your thoughts is human nature, but push past it and get your voice out there.
I need to find the right way to use my camera, my creativity and my voice to help solve this problem. I don't know how yet, but you can be damn sure I'm going to do something.
And if you don't think arts and creativity play a role in solving the problem, watch this video that as I was about to hit publish came into my world.
Enough is a enough. We have to come together and fix the problems that are plaguing our country.
Red or blue? Black or white?
We need to come together as Americans and fix this.
Photo Credit - A HUGE thank you to Russ Rowland for allowing me to use the powerful photo he made at the recent protests in NYC. It was the perfect photo to go with this post.