I have a friend who once told me these words: if you see something, say something. We were talking about racial justice, and the words clung to me.
I listened. I breathed them into my body then thinly, cautiously exhaled.
The weight of the words filled me. I dug my feet into the earth, flexed my muscles, chin down, eyes up. I prepared to be an upstander.
I stood silent in conversations, listening as people said hurtful things.
I listened, as hurtful things flowed out of my own mouth, my diaphragm releasing air I wish I could recapture.
if you see something, say something
I saw things. I said nothing. Even worse, I participated.
Instead of being an upstander, I found myself a contributor.
This morning I watched in horror as two women on our local school committee responded to being verbally attacked with racial slurs. I saw something I will never un-see and the pain and heat of shame cuts deep.
In a world where there is so much struggle, so much tragedy, so much potential, what do we need to do to weave people together? To see commonalities instead of differences? To care instead of hate?
How much damage has to occur before we realize that change begins within each of us? With the words we choose. The friends we keep. The things we say behind closed doors.
Sending love, support, strength and solidarity to Kyra Wilson Cook and Evelyn Abayaah Issah.