Fellow white people —
Did you listen? Did you listen when they told you about Dontre Hamilton? When they told you about Eric Garner? Michael Brown? Tamir Rice? Did you read the stories they wrote about Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Alton Stirling? Did you sit silently by when you heard of Stephon Clark, Rekia Boyd? Did you shake your head at the news of Laquan McDonald?
When will you write? When will you speak? When will you act? What will it take?
Will the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black man simply out for a run, be any different? When will you say something? When will you do something?
As you look around this COVID-ravaged world, who is dying? Who is forced to work outside the home as low-paid essential workers? Who is forced to attend underfunded schools, which have now become underfunded virtual schools inaccessible if you live in a home without an internet connection? Who is regularly disenfranchised by systems of voter suppression? Who is killed by police and self-proclaimed vigilantes without provocation?
Fellow white people — we live in a world designed to advantage us. If you are comfortable with that, I don’t know what else to say to you. If you are not comfortable with that, I know just what to say:
Don’t just hear — reality listen. Listen to the stories of Black men murdered by police and those who consider themselves police.
Feel. Reach out to the pain that people of color must endure in this country. Of course, we can never experience the reality of it, but allow some fraction of it to wash over you.
Speak out. Proclaim the injustice of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder loud and clear. Now that his murderers have been arrested, call for their conviction.
Act up. Make it clear to your elected officials that you will no longer tolerate unequal health outcomes, unequal school funding, unequal voting access. Make it clear that you will no longer vote for candidates who tolerate those things. When physically safe to do so, show up to protests and demonstrate your solidarity with your body. When that is not physically safe, show up through online protest and through your words and ideas.
Fellow white people — for our country, for our world to be different, we have to be different. How will you be different, starting today?
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