About six weeks ago, I joined a zoom meeting and had no idea what to expect. I was the youngest person in the meeting, and the entire meeting was uncomfortable and interesting. We watched (or listened, rather) to an episode of “The Color of Compromise” and had an open and honest discussion afterwards. I was so engaged in listening that I nearly forgot to say anything. Since then, we’ve met another two times and I wanted to write about my journey so far.
As many of you know, I am the mother of a beautiful and amazing biracial baby girl. When I decided to join this group, I never imagined I’d be crying during the third meeting. Nor did I expect to find others who have experienced racism similar to me (or rather, my daughter). See, I’m not the only one praying for my child (or grandchild) and their future in this climate. It is 2020 and only recently did the Washington Football Team change their name and finally dropped the racial slur Redskins. It is 2020 and I still hear close family members share their opinions on my dating life (I’m an equal-opportunity dater). It is 2020 and yet it feels like the 1800s.
Which led to me crying. When will it get better? Sometimes, I get so very overwhelmed. But what I heard this past meeting sparked a new hope within me. I may not be able to change the world, but I can work on myself and help to change my circle. And circle by circle, change can start and have a ripple effect. So, I am challenging myself by putting myself in these uncomfortable conversations. I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I mostly listen, but I also am learning how I can change myself from within to be more accepting and loving of others.
Because at the end of the day, that is what it’s about. Loving others as God loves us. How are you trying to be a better version of yourself? What are you doing to abolish hate and racism?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re likely aware of the many protests occurring in order to bring about changes in regards to how people of color (POC) are treated. This is not a new fight, it’s actually been going on for hundreds of years. The hate crimes/ police brutality are not new either, they are just being video taped more regularly thanks to technology. Through everything though, we as a people know that change won’t come from us just sitting at home. We must unite, protest and march together to bring about change. White people along with people of color must come together to bring about the needed changes. We must not remain silent.
It’s easy to see discomfort is a necessary thing to endure in order to grow as a nation, as a community, and as humans. A lot of people get stuck. A lot of people get comfortable. Many people are so comfortable, they’re miserable. Actually I personally know several people who are comfortably broke. So broke they can’t even feed their own children, and yet won’t step out of their comfort zone to relieve some of their expenses or make more money.
Breaking a habit, trying something new, taking a risk, making new connections, or putting yourself in a totally new situation won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it. Calvin Coolidge says “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”
I, for one, know that I am not happy with my current financial situation. I also know that I have the power to change it. I want to grow not only financially, but also spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I want to help students learn and better their lives through science and beyond. I know I have to face some discomfort, I actually get really nervous giving presentations/speeches. Especially on video. And here I am jumping into teaching (likely virtually) starting in July. So I know it will be uncomfortable. I know it’ll be hard. I also know it’ll be worth it. I will be exhausted but also full of joy.
What area of your life are you trying to grow or change? Are you sitting idle hoping for things to just magically get better, or are you putting yourself out there to get uncomfortable and force yourself to change?