The recent deaths of Black Americans—Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd chief among them—sparked uprisings and rebellions that have shone a spotlight on police brutality and racial injustice.

The range of emotions and trauma is understandable and overwhelming.

There’s pain and loss, violence and death, despair and hope, and all of it is happening at the same time and in the middle of a pandemic.

Many are trying to figure out what to do.

I’m inspired to see so many young people engaged, organizing, and protesting, along with others that have never spoken up who are speaking up now.

I hope this time is different and that we can sustain the on-going change we seek across our Cities and Towns and across our Country.

Writer and Public Academic Rachel Cargle reminds us that anti-racism work is NOT self-improvement for white people and that if protecting bodies and empowering black lives aren’t at the center of our work, we’re not here for black people at all; we’re simply going through the moves to make our white selves feel better.

Which raises the question: What does it mean to be an anti-racist community?

I believe how we talk about these things is critically important in how we move forward, especially for how we act and understand the actions we take.

I believe in radical imagination. I believe in radical empathy. I believe we can live in a world where police don’t kill people.

I believe Black Lives Matter. 

It is my fervent hope that the black lives lost to systemic racial bias, injustice, and brutality may at last provide the radical stimulus necessary for lasting systemic change. 

Header image: Little souvenir from last year’s trip to Memphis and the National Civil Rights Museum ~ mas

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