Tag Archives: Social Justice

Ten Things on Wednesday:4/21/21

  1. When I heard the first guilty verdict, I gasped. That was immediately followed by a sobbing exhale. I’m not sure how long I had been holding my breath or if it was just the gravity of hearing GUILTY. But…wow.
  2. I’m glad that this is the first case that Hope really paid attention to; it will hopefully give her more hope for justice than I’ve ever had. My first big trial decision I remember was for the murderers of Rodney King. He was beaten the year I graduated from high school; his police murderers were set free my first year of college. I remember it being such a painful experience.
  3. And then police in Ohio couldn’t let us have one sliver of justice in peace. Naw, they had to go and shoot a 16 year old girl who had called them for help. Seriously, LEOs in MN had one effing job during the trial–don’t effing kill anyone, so what happened? They killed someone. All LEOs from coast to coast had one job last night–don’t fucking kill anyone. And just look at them. smh
  4. I swear white supremacy is so oppressive that it has a way of making every minor advance bittersweet. When that’s your reality, it makes Black joy the very representation of personal resistance.
  5. This block editor is super weird. You ever wonder why every tech company has a way of taking some feature that is easy and intuitive and saying “how can we make this miserable and clunky?” Seriously WP, what kinda focus groups drove you to this? Those folks are weird, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t complain about tech that much.
  6. This last weekend, Hope and I were on a total vibe, in a really good place. We went to a farmers market and watched our shows, just hung out and talked. There was a moment when I was watching us banter, and I thought, HOLY ISH, Hope is like me. We have been a family for 7 years, but this was the first really super conscious revelation that she has picked up some of my mannerrisms, my use of language and phrases, and just…stuff. I figured that she might pic up a few things, but what I realized is she really has adopted a lot of my traits. I never expected that when I decided to adopt. I remember just smiling to myself as we continued to talk. It was a sweet moment for me.
  7. But apparently the complexities of adoption are akin to “bad apple” cops who can’t leave folks well enough alone. During one of out chats I learned that Hope’s memories of her childhood pre-me are fading. She said it matter of fact-like, but it was a gut punch for me. While I wish I could erase all the bad stuff, the notion that is forgetting even some of the pleasant memories…I am so sad. I hope to gently ask if there are things we can do to spark up those good memories to keep them fresh. It just made me so emotional.
  8. In other news Hope is really improving emotionally. Seriously we’re on month 9 of a fair amount of challenges; I think we might’ve hit a sweet spot pharmacologically! I hope so!
  9. We’re trying to teach Yappy to use push buttons to “talk” to us. Today might’ve been the first time he activated the “outside” button unprompted. I’m hopeful because I want to hear the words behind his side eyes.
  10. I just had my nightly piece of cake, but I was on 10 hours of zoom today> I deserve some chocolate covered peanuts.#stressandfatigueeating


The Hardest Time

I am a researcher and diversity professional.

The last few weeks have been the most difficult of my career. All day, every weekday and some weekends I’ve been on calls, zooms, chats, and other modes of communication talking about strategies for change in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

I’ve watched my blood pressure rise, and this week I broke out in hives and have a twitch in my right eye. I sleep like the dead and still wake up tired. My office calendar suggests that I have blocks of free time throughout the day, but it’s a lie. I don’t get much done on my to do list; I return calls, take on the fly meetings and dole out advice. It’s been almost 3 weeks at this pace, and while I feel like I’m making a difference, I know I can’t sustain this pace.

And that’s just at work. Hope and I have had several conversations about Black liberation, about police brutality and over-policing, about our hopes and our fears. I take great solace in how thoughtful Hope is about these things and how strongly she feels about justice. We watched Mr. Floyd’s funeral in Minneapolis last week together and talked about this moment in history.

Not even a pandemic can protect us from racism.

Through these weeks though, I hardly have had time to deal with my personal emotions around police brutality, the protests and racism. I took last Friday off, and plan to take a day or so next week, but I know it’s not enough.

I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. And just when I think folks can’t be anymore stupid, they prove me wrong.

I’ve been trying to practice self-care. I continue to walk a few miles in the morning. I allow myself to eat whatever I want (within reason). I have a bed-time. I allow myself to self-medicate when necessary. My social media feeds are a blend of social justice content, general news, and dog accounts, lots and lots of dog accounts. I mean, lots of dog accounts—like probably 10 more than you’re thinking.

I’ve allowed professional colleagues to see my struggle publicly, by allowing some of my normally private posts to be open for all to see. It was liberating because I stopped caring what they thought of me. This is an epic collision of personal and professional, and I wanted people to know that, to see it, to know that some folks aren’t good allies. Even in those moments I was teaching—so I was still caring.

I just hope my vulnerability was worth it.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m ok. Hope is ok. These are challenging times. They make me sad and angry, but they also give me hope. I don’t want Hope to be my age saying I remember the protests of 2020 as people take to the streets protesting the same thing. I I hope this flurry of activity leads to change. I’m a realist, but I’m still hopeful.

I’m hoping everyone is doing ok during this challenging time. Tell me what you’re feeling in the comments.

#BlackLivesMatter


Checking In

Hope and I are just in a state of overwhelming grief, sadness, and rage. The events of the last week–the weaponization of White tears against the Black birdwatcher Christian Cooper and the murder of George Floyd by four police officers–are physically and emotionally heartwrenching.

I’m not able to pull together my thoughts in a truly coherent way and spellcheck is definitely of a mind that I should not try this right now. I desperately want to say something, to make meaning of it–not just for my readers, but for me and for Hope. The truth is I’m kind of lost at the moment.

For the first time in her time with me, Hope woke up in hysterics after a bad dream. The dream? She dreamed that she was being chased by police with batons in the air and their guns drawn. She dreamed that this happened on her wedding day. It took more than an hour to get her settled down.

I couldn’t say, “Oh honey, it’s just a dream. That will never happen!” I do not feel like I could say that because I don’t believe it to be true. I just gathered her in my arms and told her I knew what she was feeling, and that I’m so sorry that I can’t protect her from one of the “few bad apple” cops. That is not the message I want her to get, but I also can’t lie to her.

I know that her heart hurts and so does mine. I’m not sure when we will feel better. We fret over the violence at some protests, but then we see police acting badly *at the protests.* We know despite our grandest hopes that this will happen again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

I don’t know what to do with that or say about it right now, so I’ll say this:

As a reader of this blog, I challenge you to do what you can to end White Supremacy and police terrorism (it’s also brutal, but my daughter was terrified).

Don’t ask your BIPOC pals/family for a to-do list to affect change. That requires emotional labor. Google is effing free–seriously, look up:

How to not be racist?

How to be an antiracist?

I promise you tons of amazing things will pop up. You will find the answers to your questions with minimal collateral damage to the BIPOC around you. Don’t make them do the heavy lift of educating you–you can do that; the resources are legit at your fingertips.

If you are a blue lives matter person, I believe in good community policing (with some caveats), but real talk, there is a problem with policing in this country. In fact #throwthewholecriminaljusticesystemout and start anew. Besides, blue life, revered and respected is a career choice; black life, maligned and marginalized is not a career choice, it is a happenstance of birth. These things are not responses to the other. Stop it.

My Christian peeps, if your church wasn’t talking about preserving Black life with a heavy dash of liberation theology this morning or over the last week–Why? The Holy Homeboy missed given y’all a message about how justice oriented Jesus was? He was about liberation before it was cool. Ponder that along with whether your church’s adoption messaging is louder and larger than its family preservation ministry.

Finally, if you work with Black folks, this might be a good time to tiptoe through the emotional tulips. Don’t get tight when the video on Zoom is set to the avatar picture. Keep meetings short; minimal small talk. Yes, it’s ok to check on them, but see above if this is your follow up, “Juanita this is so sad, do you know where I can learn more about the inherent racism in the US criminal justice system?” Sir, ma’am, them, stop, pull out your phone and ask Google Assist or Siri to find you something to read. Be patient with us.

Finally, to my fellow BIPOC, I’m holding you in my heart. This is a sad time, but all of our ancestors have experienced more and worse. We can continue to fight for equality. EArlier in the week, Hope told me a quote she found online.

They better be glad we just want equality and not revenge.

Take care of yourselves; I’ll be back with more in a few days.


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