This weight has been sitting in my guts. I have been wanting to add my thoughts to the voices of the many who are feeling such sorrow.
However, I was not sure it was my place. Not sure I could say anything that would make a difference to anyone. And still, the weight is in my guts.
When I was in 3rd grade, I remember a bus of children brought from The West Side of Las Vegas to our Greater Las Vegas school. These children were black and as a blonde haired, blue eyed kid, this was the first time I remember seeing a child that was so different from myself. I am not sure why this 3rd grade memory is so clear to me, but it certainly is vivid.
Now, as an adult woman with all the white privilege, this is a monumental memory for me. It was the time I realized other people had a skin color other than white. I was 7 years old. It was 1973.
Most of my childhood, I was so self involved in my own adopted child world that I just had not been aware that I was not the only “different” kid in school. I always felt left out, excluded, weird and as if my skin did not fit on my own body. And, as a white child of privilege, I fit in everywhere. I just didn’t know how I fit in my own skin.
I have been horrified by the image of George Floyd face down, calling for his mother. Calling for his MAMA! It haunts me when I think of watching the video. My God, he wanted his MAMA!!
How many other black and brown men and women and children have been begging for their mothers due to terror? Terror from those who are sworn to protect. Terror from those who have hatred living in their hearts? Terror from just waking up each day to face a world of fear in the community where they live? How many calling for their Mama, in their hearts, with their minds and with their voices?
As a therapist working with children, I have often had a diverse case load. I love what children teach me about how they want to be treated. I love that I have had children of color explain their life experiences to me. I have been uplifted by these children’s ability to survive and want to “become” someone in their lives. I have also been horrified by the abuse these children have endured due to systems of privilege such as Foster Care, Adoption, Court Process, Juvenile Justice Court, Child Protective Services and many more. These systems are not systems of change, but often systems of punishment due to poverty, class, race, socio-economics and diversity. The judgements handed down to those who need the most help are heartbreaking.
I have walked on this earth for 54 years and I want to be part of the solution. I want to hold space with others who can open their hearts to love other human beings. I want my life’s work to make a difference and to be honest with my shortcomings and misunderstandings.
After reading and re-reading, then reflecting, I want to say the following:
I want those who are of a different color than me to know I see you and I love you. I am listening. I thought I was listening before, but acknowledge I was not listening in the right way. I see all of you. I read what you write. I listen to what you say. I see how you love. I see how you ache. I want to apologize for how I have hurt you – as a white privileged person. I want to acknowledge I have been part of the problem.
My desire is to improve in my ability to be an ally. I want to be called out when I get it wrong. I want to offer love always. I want to do better.