The group of human beings that showed up to the kick off of #200nightsoffreedom in #milwaukee this evening. I'll post more details in the coming days, but I wanted you guys to see how packed it got in the Milwaukee City Hall this evening. This started with a committee of humans of all colors coming together to plan a celebration of the 50th anniversary of 200 nights of civil rights actions that took place in 1967, and forever changed the face of this city. There is still a lot more to be done, though. These four R's are steps our country and my fellow white humans must take in order to move forward and heal as a society:
The 3rd and 4th were not actually outright outlined, but they are undercurrent themes to this action that need to be called out specifically. The following is my interpretation of these four R's:
1. Recognition of the true history of this country. Recognition that this country is set up unfairly for people of color and poor people of all colors. And an honest recognition of some deep seated white supremecy that runs this country. Nothing will change if we don't acknowledge this as white peoples and people with privilege.
2. Reignition means waking everyone you know up to these recognitions. Igniting the fire that will fuel the change we must see in order to heal and move forward as a country. That's our job now as white peoples in this fight.
3. Reckoning means we can't heal as a country and species if we, white peoples, don't acknowledge the fact that the treatment of people of color in this country has been so grossly inappropriate and we should have done more to change it, rather than normalizing and ignoring it. The reckoning of our past actions as a country has come. We must face this topic with dignity and respect to the truth, while not getting defensive. It's ok to feel defensive, but I am challenging you because I know you can do this. Instead of leaping to a defensive stance, try a different route. Approach the topic with intellectual curiosity to help remove the need to take this all personally. It's not about you; it's way bigger than you.
4. Reconciliation means acknowledging our history as a country with kindness, empathy, and respect to those who have had to bear the brunt of the ills of capitalism and corporatism, unjust sentancing, wrongful accusations and convictions based on race, harassment and murder by law enforcement, these are all among many, many wrongs we have to right. We have to make the necessary changes to get this country to work for all humans.
I'm adding a 5th R: Responsibility. This is the responsibility of white humans to fix. If you politely ignored racism in the past (I'm guilty of that and am the first to admit it) then you and me and all of us, we are responsible for fixing this.
None of this is easy to admit or acknowledge but, as the last few years have taught me, nothing in this life is easy. And nothing is guaranteed. And those are some cold hard truths about being a human, but it doesn't mean we should throw our hands up and not try. Quite the opposite. It means we should try that much harder to get each other through this life. Go to the website and get involved.