Listen to the their voices, listen to their stories. Our fellow Americans of color are telling us what they have been experiencing for decades. We - white people - need to pay attention.
Years ago, when first beginning my working life with BLM, when to me it meant Bureau of Land Management and not Black Lives Matter, I had a friend at work who was black. It was a great friendship, one where we could ask each other some awkward questions about race. I learned a great deal. I mentally questioned if perhaps she was exaggerating on one instance which she said was a regular occurance....being trailed in stores and “watched.” But then I saw it for myself when neither she nor the lady in the gift shop knew I was watching. My friend was closely followed throughout the small store by the clerk. No reason to follow her - no suspicious behavior, nothing furtive. But still.... followed.
I would not have appreciated being treated that way and as far as I know, have never been trailed like that while shopping.
I had many black coworkers throughout my government career in Portland, Denver and Reno. They were all hard-working, loved their families, cared about being good members of their communities. They had the same kind of American values I think all of us share, regardless of color. That is true of the Hispanic families I am getting to know here as well, hardworking, good, kind people. All of these people I known and know now would make good neighbors, the kind who watch out or each other. The kind who want their children to be productive members of society.
The diversity makes us better, I believe. It adds a richness to our lives, just like the people from Denmark, Switzerland, England and Ireland did when they first came to this part of the country and joined the Native American inhabitants. Let’s not think that protestors are saying Black Lives Matter MORE, they are saying Black Lives matter TOO. Brown lives matter, TOO. As much, as equal, as those of us born white. Let’s listen to their stories. Not just about all the murders in the news, but the constant daily slights and concerns that white people aren’t aware of. Listen why and how they are hurting and how we can help make a difference.
Because it will not hurt us to listen, to learn, to understand and live up to “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
And we are ALL Americans.