Not Just Florida

I wrote a post about my home state a few days ago. I’m angry about Dunn and Zimmerman not being punished for the murders they have committed. I’m still angry about it and much of my focus and the focus of people around the country are on Florida. This is understandable. Let’s hold that focus and harness that anger to create change in Florida and while we’re doing that let’s ensure that we’re not losing sight of the fact that this is not solely a Florida problem…

This problem of racism is bigger than that. It’s systemic. It’s in the air we breathe. It’s in the lessons we learned in school. It’s in the history books. It’s spoken into being by our teachers, friends, parents, and family. It’s represented in the media we consume. There is no way to totally escape these realities of life in the U.S. We can become aware of them and bolster our critical consciousness. We can spread consciousness to others. We can challenge and we can push. Even with all of that challenge, growth, and education we will still make mistakes due to the socialization we have absorbed.

Yes, Florida needs to address it’s many problems with race, but all of us need to address racism across the country. Renisha McBride wasn’t killed in Florida. Jonathan Ferrell wasn’t killed in Florida. Jesus Huerta wasn’t killed in Florida. We need to see that our lives are interconnected and that our liberation from these problems is interdependent with one another. We need to find the organizations that are creating change and pushing the status quo.

Race ForwardDream Defenders, Color of Change are just three that I can think of right now. (There is also a petition from Race Forward that is directed to the Florida Prosecutor Angela Corey to address racial bias in the court system) There are many more. Connect with organizations. Volunteer. Stand up. Speak out. Build coalitions to create change. Work to understand the realities of the culture that we live in. When we start this process, we can continue to make a difference. Make the culture feel the “stubborn ounces of our weight.” None of us can do everything, but we can all do something. Sometimes our work can feel like nothing. It can feel like we’re going nowhere and that’s when I look to the poem by Bonaro Overstreet. We can’t do everything, but we need to throw the stubborn ounces of our weight into something because our liberation is interconnected and interdependent.

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