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THIS IS US! A Personal Story of diversity.

This week in lieu of my usual blog, I feel it is essential to talk about social injustice and to share some important resources and information.  We need to promote inclusion and equality for the black community.  My mission has always been to help hurting people heal and to empower as many lives as I can touch.  This is still my mission.  I also feel I have a story to tell and hope you read with an open mind.

I remember being about 4 years old and was playing with friends that lived in my neighborhood.  My mom gave me cookies to take out to share but for some reason I didn’t share with my black friend.  My mother saw this and asked me, “why didn’t you share with Johnny?”  I responded with “he’s not pretty like my other friends”.   Which I remember was what I heard from the other children.  My mother was very young, she had me at the age of 17 and was probably about 22 at this time.  Even at this young age she was very wise.  She said to me “well you’re not too damn pretty yourself and you will share with Johnny!” 

This is a lesson that stuck with me my entire life.  I talked to my mom the other day and asked her if I could share this story. She was embarrassed at how she handled the situation but I’m grateful for her teachings.  She taught me that we come in so many different colors, and backgrounds but we should all be treated equally.  This is still what I believe.  

I have seen so many things during my 60 years but one story I want to share that has stayed with me.  Growing up in California, the mindset was a bit different than I experienced I moved to the Midwest. It was so surprising to see the blatant racism and complete lack of empathy for those of color.   There was a white co-worker who was driving us to grab lunch, as black man was walking through the parking lot and she said to me “I should run over him”.  I was appalled and taken back, but I didn’t say a word.  I just sat there in shock. To this day I regret not speaking up.  I was raised to be opposed to racism, but I still kept silent. Being silent says a lot.  I didn’t do what was right,  I am still learning but I will not be silent again. 

Many people are disconnecting from social media platforms because they are tired of seeing the anger. I understand but I ask you to take a moment and consider this is what a person of color has probably experienced their entire life. 

This is us. Diverse and far from traditional.

My life is a bit like the show This is Us.  My immediate family is very diverse.  I have been married twice neither of which ended well.  Now I unexpectedly I am with an amazing woman.  Our family is not considered typical or traditional, but THIS IS US!  It’s wonderful, but there is judgement that comes with it. I’ve been judged my entire life, I am ok with it.   I would rather have my very diverse family and experiences than a life with no judgement.  

I also have two sons one is black, and one is white. They are only a few years difference in age, but they are treated very differently. 

When my son Jake received his license, he went on with his life and drove his nice car everywhere.  He even traveled the country after he graduated and most the time lived in his car while he explored the country.   I advised my son about being safe and his response was “I’m pretty safe, mom.  I’m a 6-foot skinny white guy travelling.  I’m not sure what I would worry about”.  His statement spoke volumes to me.  

My son Thomas, who is black has a different story.  When he earned his driver’s license, he was advised by a police officer/neighbor that he should put both hands on his door if he was pulled over. The officers would want to plainly see his hands.   When Thomas was 16 he was pulled over near his home. The officer advised him that he just wanted to see who he was and wanted to know why he was driving such a nice car.   

Thomas met his wife when she was 3 months pregnant and they fell in love. Thomas adopted the baby at birth who is very white little guy with bright blue eyes.  They have since had a second child and she is not only beautiful like her brother but has a little color to her skin like her daddy.  I worry that when Thomas is out in public holding his little boy by himself, someone will call the police on him because he is black?  Would you wonder why he is so dark and has a white blue-eyed child in his arms?  

When Jake grew his beautiful red hair out below his shoulders, people think it is pretty and he’s a hippie. When Thomas grows his hair long, he is told he looks like he’s a thug.  The differences have always hurt my heart.

We can change

When does this change?   Can we have a time when a mother doesn’t worry about her child based on the color of their skin?   I am sharing this because I have been a party to not knowing what to do in the face of racism and I have also been on the other side experiencing it with someone I love dearly. We have a responsibility as a community to say we are not going to allow this any longer.   

This is our time for change.

This is a tremendous opportunity for change. It has been a painful road and will most likely will still be uncomfortable and challenging but we can do it. 

For the past couple of years, I have felt this beginning to manifest.  There is absolutely a Spiritual Awakening going on and this is an opportunity for us as a collective to make profound changes.  Our limiting belief systems and societal structures are no longer serving us. We are becoming aware of this in some prolific ways.  The universe if forcing us to wake up.  Our world can’t ignore racism, climate change, discrimination, separation and religious suppression any longer.  

Shift and Rise

As we shift and rise in our awareness to create and take part in this change, I challenge everyone to ask your guides how you can help in this shift. Make an intention to listen and learn.  For some it might mean taking a physical stance, for other’s it may mean assisting in healing or using your voice to share your experience.   Do your part to spread acceptance, equality and love.  Whatever it is you choose to do as we make this shift towards love know that you are making a difference.  

Here are some great resources to:

Black Futures Lab

Center for Policing Equity

The Bail Project

Common Future

Equal Justice Initiative

Love and Namasté

Deb Sheppard