As much as I would like to write a heartfelt reflection for you, I am struggling. I’ve had endless thoughts over the last week on George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. And though I have felt compelled to share my two cents, I am going to try to keep it very brief.
In my first draft of this email to you, I wrote, "Now is not the time to amplify my own voice. I truly believe that message. Now is the time to shine the lights on black voices." I am noticing my own speech patterns and have been hyperaware of my words, and as such, I sent this email to a black yoga student and friend of mine, Leana.
Her only feedback to me was this:
"Your message is lovely and very clear.
The only thing I would say is that you shouldn’t be silent. (Not saying that you are), but Your voice needs to be amplified. And you are amplifying you’re voice, especially since you are talking about systemic racism and giving your readers suggestions on material they can read to learn to do better. That’s amplification right there!
Black voices are being heard right now but we also need allies, like you, who have a voice in the community 💜. I keep telling people that silence is so loud and people notice."
As for the reading material I advise, keep reading. I asked my friend if I should delete the originally stated line, and she responded, "No, no, no. Not at all."
She recommended the correction to write, “Now is the time to amplify my voice.”
And she finished with, "Because now is the time 💁🏾♀️." - Thank you, Leana!
So, here I go. I want to acknowledge this important moment in our lives. First came the pandemic and months of fear and chaos. And now the entire world has galvanized around creating lifelong change. We are living in a pivotal moment in history, to say the least. The year 2020 will be in the history books, with a loud message.
Behind the scenes, I have been reading, learning, and talking to family about race. On the one hand, I have never really had these conversations with my family. But on the other, the discussions on ideologies, equality, complicit behaviors and silence, is quite familiar to me. As a liberal arts educated psychology (cognition) major, I took courses in history, sociology, and psychology. Including those on colonization, race, gender, and sexuality. These courses expanded my mind to explore and see life through a broader scope, thank you Skidmore College.
At times, I questioned my own involvement in systemic racism, but never to this current degree. This is the power of the current movement. It is so important, so overdue, it has been silenced, but now it is here. These discussions are difficult and uncomfortable, but ultimately, these conversations will help evolve the world to be a better place for all beings. Before we get there, to that future scenario, Black Lives Matter. Right here, right now, and urgently.
It is not my intention to delve into all of my thoughts here, believe me, this is my attempt at brevity. The systemic racism and injustice strongholds in America are deeply connected to education. I know that is not by any means an all-encompassing explanation, but it is a factor.
How can one begin to question their own involvement in racism if they deny its very existence? Education will help decompose the false conceptualization of a racist as that of a violent outlier. For starters, I can recommend the book White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. It is an uncomfortable but powerful read.
Aside from reading, I have used the resource of social media, but at times it has felt overwhelming.
I’ve stepped back, logged off, and checked in mentally and physically. I’ve gone for long runs, and practiced yoga. I considered canceling both last week’s yoga class and this week’s class, because I am questioning everything. Second guessing whether or not now is the time for yoga.
I concluded that yes, it is. In fact, I can’t think of a better time to practice than right now. We need to stay fit, mentally and physically. We need to show up, and do better, for ourselves, our family, and the world. If you have a million thoughts circulating right now, as I do, let’s clear space and make sense of them on the mat tomorrow.
In lieu of donating to Aloha United Way tomorrow, 50% of the proceeds from tomorrow’s class will go towards Black Lives Matter to help fund the movement.
Respond to this email if you would like to take class tomorrow from 8-9:15am. I will respond to you with the link and password.