Art can say so much. Through words, colours, form, music I can process this crazy world. I have a deep desire to make it all right. To take away all hurt. To find peace. To live and let live. With every nutty thing that 2020 throws at us, my Bohemian heart breaks again and again, over and over. Art is a beautiful, honest balm to buffer it all. It is a way of sharing in and trying to understand the bitter sweetness of this human condition we all suffer from!
“Declare it. Just the same way we declare war.
That is how we will have peace… we just need to declare it.”
How utterly horrifying and tragic that 46 year old George Floyd, a black man, lost his life because the knee of a white police officer was pressed into his neck for nearly 9 agonizing minutes. His pleas of “I can’t breathe” ignored by the officer. He was already handcuffed for allegedly trying to use a counterfeit 20 dollar bill at the grocery store. Lying face down beside the back tire of the Minneapolis Police cruiser. Calling for his “Mama…” How can this be declared anything other than murder??? How can this be declared anything but racial profiling??? How can this be declared anything but systemic racism and brutality towards black people within policing??? How can we declare that this racism is not also alive and well in Canada???
“So, the U.S. is on fire, eh?” my eldest announces as he sits for dinner last Friday. George Floyd was murdered on Monday of that week. With the disgusting actions of the officers on duty caught on tape and widely distributed throughout social media, the response was swift and many demonstrations of protest were staged throughout the United States. At my son’s announcement, the time for our family to unpack the tragedy and reality as we understand it had arrived. Our conversation wove in and out of history and present day racist realities. Name after name, incident after incident of black killings were remembered. Many, many examples of inequality. Three fresh, young, bewildered sets of eyes in white faces wore expressions of confusion and horror. How could anyone do these kinds of things?? We are all human. Well, the lesson that sometimes some people don’t believe that other people deserve to be treated like people is a tough one.
I look at my precious young people and think once again about how scary it is to parent…as a white person. It must be even more challenging as a black parent. This week CBC The National posted to Twitter a video of Black Canadian parents sharing their experience of parenting to prepare their children to stay safe in the world. I learned so much about their reality raising children in a world where the colour of their skin may make them a target of racial profiling by police, without just cause. A world where they wonder if their children will stay alive when they venture out with their friends for an evening out. A world where they must teach their kids pointed ways to respond if they are pulled over by police to stay safe – hands on the wheel the whole time, “yes, sir” “Thank you, sir” super polite speech, no sudden movements. How awful to have your precious children see George Floyd die in such a cold, violent way, and to have to address their questions that wonder if that could be them someday…
That is no way to have to live. The Black Lives that we must know Matter EVERYDAY need us to value them, to really hear them and to BE the change. Human Rights apply to ALL human beings.
“This is not white vs black. This is everyone against racism.” (Ohio State Football Team statement)