I’ll be honest, I’m afraid to say anything. I’m afraid my words will be taken out of context or to mean things I don’t mean. I’m afraid that most people will say that I might as well have just kept my mouth shut rather than speak and hurt more people. I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing in an effort to say the right thing. But I have to say something. Staying silent is not the answer.
I’ve seen the video of George Floyd. I’ve seen the protests. I’ve seen the rioting and looting and the other innocent lives taken as a result. I’ve seen the President use force to move back peaceful protesters so that he could have his picture taken in front of a church holding a Bible.
All of it makes my heart hurt.
That Mr. Floyd went through what he went through at the hands of people who are sworn to serve and protect makes my heart hurt. That people still have to protest for equal rights and against police brutality makes my heart hurt. The fact that people pillage and plunder and take more innocent lives while protesting the taking of an innocent life makes my heart hurt. The fact that our President would use violence as a means to stand in front of a church to be seen taking a picture with a Bible in his hand makes my heart hurt.
That we’re 155 years removed from the end of the Civil War and this is still a problem makes my heart hurt.
I don’t have words of comfort. I don’t have words that I feel like will help. I don’t know what else to do except to say “I’m sorry.”
I’m sorry for all the things that you have to go through that I will never know.
I’m sorry you can’t wear hoodies and feel safe. I mean, there’s nothing quite like a good hoodie.
I’m sorry that you have to fear for your life if you ever get pulled over.
I’m sorry that you get pulled over for no other reason than the color of your skin.
I’m sorry that you can’t go out running if you like to run.
I’m sorry that you have to teach your children how to handle situations like this.
I’m sorry that you can’t just live, work, grow up, and love in peace and safety.
I’m sorry for every time that I’ve ever made a joke or laughed at a joke that was derogatory or inconsiderate.
I’m sorry that I’ve probably said things in my life that would be considered racist.
I’m sorry for never speaking up and seeking justice where it needed to be sought.
I’m sorry that for the majority of my life I’ve just been unconcerned or indifferent about your reality.
I’m sorry that even though you are my friends I’ve never just sat and listened to your struggles.
I know it’s a big ask, but I am asking you to please forgive me for all the ways I have hurt you. I am so sorry.
Let’s Move Forward
Now I know saying “sorry” doesn’t make up for the many hundreds of years that you’ve lived marginalized and oppressed. But it’s what I have and it’s a start.
Moving forward, I want to take action.
I pledge to you that I will vote in ways to help remove the bad, bring in the good, and in ways that will bring us closer together.
I will sign petitions that lead us toward reconciliation. If you know me you know that I’m a 9 on the enneagram (a peacemaker). I just want everyone to be happy and live in peace with each other. So taking a stand one way or another is something that’s out of my comfort zone for sure. But I will do my best to do what I can, when I can, and put my name on it.
I will listen, as often and as much as I can. Being indifferent to you is just as bad as being against you. I don’t want to be against you. I commit to better understand what I’ve so long ignored. To educate myself where I lack education, to ask questions where I need to, and to shut up and be there for you when all you need is someone to listen.
And if it helps, I will gladly use my words to speak life and love, equality and justice on your behalf.
This is what I have to give. I hope you will accept it.