When we say Nothing; We say Everything

When I was a young mother, my dearly beloved Mother-In-Law shared with me a quote from Father Theodore Hesburgh, the former President of the University of Notre Dame. Father Hesburgh said, “Take a stand whether it be wrong or right; take a stand. There is no greater place in hell than for those who do not take a stand.” Now, I don’t believe in hell but I do believe in taking a stand.

With all the protests over the deaths of George Floyd and so many other black men and women, I am in shock once again that anyone could consider another human being as less than another. It’s nothing new. For as long as I can remember, people have been looked upon, judged, and punished because of the color of their skin.

Systemic Racism

I know that this issue is way too big to solve on this page. It’s complicated. And, it is fueled by the emotions of years of ignorance. We have accepted injustices right under our noses. I write this being fully aware of my own white privilege, which offers me the choice to live in a bubble of ignorance. I won’t.

As Desmond Tutu suggests, there is no room for neutrality. You see the injustice and you act on it. Or, you keep quiet and let it continue. I am shocked and sickened. I’m ok voicing my outrage, disgust, and anger at the inhumane and unjust treatment of targeted groups in our world.

I believe by ignoring the real issues in what other human beings are facing, ignores their pain and keeps us from being part of the solution. So, I’m asking what each of us can do about it. Where can each of us take responsibility for our part in allowing things to have gotten so far away from what we know is right and just? We all know deep down what we believe in and value. Sometimes, we let our own fear get in our way.

Basic Human Needs

What might our collective world look like if we decided that regardless of race, gender, or religion, we were all the same? Human beings with beating hearts and loving families. All of us need connection, acceptance and love. Human beings with the same intelligence and integrity that we consider ourselves to have. Human beings with the same need for jobs, food, shelter and money. We all want the right of respectful treatment by all social and justice institutions.

What might we be doing? How might we be treating each other on a personal and on a political level? We don’t have to be the one standing with a megaphone getting the crowd fired up at a protest, if that’s not your thing. There is plenty we can do to make a difference. We all need to figure out our part.

No one thinks they are racist but this is another reminder to take a very long, hard look at the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that racism shows up in our world. Where we can step up and say a strong no to ourselves and others around us about any kind of inequality?

A sister of all of us. A woman who is part of this list. She shares that her heart is hurting. She says that we all need to know the world we are in and we need to do better.

I agree. A collective no to injustice (big or small) is a collective yes to equality.

And we ALL need to do better.