When I read this tweet on Saturday afternoon, I felt sick to my stomach. What was I doing? I was cleaning out Katherine’s closet. I had to turn off the tv because I was so upset and disgusted (and this was before anyone died at the hands of an evil message and messenger) and I needed to do something. And I decided that something was to clean out closets.
In the past, when I thought back to what I would have done during slavery, the Holocaust or the Civil Rights movement, I certainly imagined myself hiding neighbors or marching in the streets. I did not imagine myself cleaning out closets and desperately hoping that all the evil and hatred would go away if I just turned my back for a moment.
A bit later, I heard from a friend who has been active in the racial justice community for a long time. She told me that I could use my writing for good. I could be active on social media. I could share information about the March for Racial Justice that she is organizing in September.
And you know what I did? I went back to cleaning Katherine’s closet. And I posted a message about love on Facebook. And I have have been sad and angry since then. I have watched the news way too much. I have spent hours scrolling through Twitter for answers.
Cleaning closets. Watching the news. Consuming social media. These things are not working.
I am scared to march. Or even to attend a vigil. I worry for the safety of our family if we choose to do these things. I am also scared to use my writing and my social media presence to speak my truth. I have read through the posts of like-minded friends and seen the comments that have followed and it makes me scared to engage. I do not know if I have the strength to defend ‘my side’ in a situation where I believe with all my heart that there is only one side that is right and just and true.
I have thought a lot since Saturday about the power of unsaid words. Today I read a post written by Shannan Younger at Between Us Parents. She wrote about her need to speak out and she shared the following words from Desmund Tutu:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Both this quote and Shannan’s post convinced that it was time to write.
I am not sure how much more I will write about this or what I will do next. But I know that writing nothing is not working. This is my next step.