I found myself crying yesterday at the gym. Figured it would be ok, would pass off as sweat from an intense cardio session.
Was next to a black woman on the treadmill, both of us watching the news – the ongoing recaps, fallout and commentary of the week’s events. I can’t recall thinking of people in that way before – her as black and me as white – in a moment like that. It might sound disingenuous, but growing up in Las Vegas we are just a bunch of misfits anyway, so what’s the difference if we have a different tone to our skin color, or crazy hair, or stuff branded or pierced onto our bodies.
But now because of the proverbial few bad apples, and clear underlying structural problems, me and I am sure others find ourselves thinking in new ways.
I feel like this is a seminal moment for us, as a community (whatever level of community you want to imagine – neighborhood, city, state, country, globe). Will we take the steps necessary to fix this “once and for all” this time?
If you are 19 years old, like I was when Rodney King happened, please do everything you can to make something change in this moment – do better than I did and my peers did. We didn’t make the right changes apparently, didn’t fight hard enough, didn’t persevere and see it through. At least it appears we didn’t because here we are again.
If you are 29 years old right now, like I was when 9/11 happened, please do everything you can to make something change in this moment – do better than I did and my peers did. We didn’t make the right changes apparently, didn’t fight hard enough, didn’t persevere and see it through. At least it appears we didn’t because here we are again.
I feel paralyzed right now, not knowing what I can do to help. That’s both unusual for me (for those who work with and know me I am usually not at a loss for solutions to problems, even ones that don’t really need it!) and frustrating.
I do believe that White America needs to do some outreach to Black America. Maybe I can play a part in that. Maybe you can too.
I do believe that those of us who believe we have too many guns and the wrong culture around guns need to stand up for what we believe in and take stronger action through the political system. Maybe I can help make voices heard. Maybe you can too.
I do believe that police forces around the country need to get together and share best practices, adopting what I think is called community-based policing – where police become advocates and allies with those in the community. In Las Vegas, our police in the resort corridor think of themselves as ambassadors for the community. Maybe that’s something we can spread; maybe your community police have ideas they can share too.
Random acts of kindness would be nice right about now. I feel like I should have talked to that woman on the treadmill, taken a few moments to understand how she is feeling, what her and I can do to make a difference. We all need to do the little things and then make those the narrative, let’s use social media and other modern tools to spread stories of love and friendship and kindness, instead of hate and debate.
My heart is still heavy. But just in the time spent considering and writing this, my outlook has changed and my heart is a little less heavy. But rest assured it will take me a while to get past this. I hope I don’t become numb to this feeling and use it to motivate me to contribute to a positive change in my community.