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Birthday Wishes & Equity Dreams

Dear White Friends for Justice and Equity,

As I begin my 42year, I have much to be grateful for and much to wish for. My wishes for each of you as we begin this new post Election Era together is the following:

  1. Be gentle with yourselves and allow the grief, fear, anger, denial and finally acceptance unfold as it needs. Some of you did not believe other whites like us really felt strongly enough to vote for a leader who leads with so much darkness, so much racism, so much sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and disdain for other human beings. Believe it and sit with it.
  2. Understand that the time for conversations is over. The time for holiday conversations about “politics” is over. You have to make some decisions about who you want at your table and how it impacts you and your families. Most white people do not want to discuss how their vote was for racism and for the toxic game of blaming those who are different for the problems in their lives. The wall is up and this is about who you want to have around you to be the best person you can be. You cannot overlook, obfuscate, or find humor in any more ill-conceived statements that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and all around distasteful.
  3. Know that your friends and family members who voted for the Trump/Pence ticket, knew who and what they were voting for–power. Diversity and Inclusion is not a touchy hippie workshop but about shifting power and all of us whites know that. That’s when the emperor has no clothes and we know it. So do not accept the rationals from our sisters who say they just didn’t like Hillary. This is nothing to do with Hillary, this is about supporting a Bully, a racist, a sexist, a homophobic, a xenophobic person to be the leader of the U.S. and have a world stage.
  4. Reflect on the eight years of simmering, stewing, complaining, that has been building since President Obama took office. Consider how our white brothers and sisters spoke about him and blamed him for anything and everything and even questioned his authority to hold his office because of the color of his skin.
  5. Remember the angry outbursts, the extra drinking, the extra eating, the longer bouts of depression of our white brothers and sisters. Especially the longer bouts of silence from our white sisters about President Obama. This is how some white people express implicit racism and that is what it was. Decide how you will turn these memories into knowledge to share with younger white people about how to handle life’s challenges without blaming groups of people for their problems and to stop assuming other groups have more than they do.
  6. Be ready to stand up and take action. If you see a person being harmed, video it, stop it, get help for them.
  7. Write letters to your state and local officials.
  8. Pick three organizations and give them money.
  9. Pick three organizations and volunteer your time that will help with your knowledge and make a difference in the lives of others.
  10. Run for a local school board, local, state or federal government position or identify someone else who wants to and help them with their campaign.
  11. Tell other white people who are doing this work to keep going and work to shift the power back to us, the Rainbow Nation of people of all colors and persuasions to be the country we know we can be. We did not attain justice and equity during the Obama administration, we just became more relaxed because we thought it was enough having our first African American President. Power was shifting and our white brothers and sisters decided they were losing the game of life because of their skin color.
  12. Be prepared to have periods of silence that may last months or years from your white families and friends. This is how we are taught to respond to those that want to share power, share wealth, share equity, and share human rights. Let your heart grieve that they are not the people you and the rest of us need them to be right now or forever. You are coming out as a fighter of equity and justice and once your out, stay out. Some white family and friends may come around and some may not but allow no more overlooking and compromising because it dehumanizes your soul and our world.
  13. Know that you are not alone. I am with you, we are with you the Rainbow Nation of people of all colors and persuasions and we will hug you when you need one and listen to you when you are hurt and we will celebrate each and every step of action because the greater the resistance equals the greater the change. We have just met the resistance and now we know who we are as a white community and who we are as a nation and we must move forward in new ways.
  14. Read a history book to give you perspective on this fight for equity and justice. There will be violence, there will be riots, there will be vigils, there will be great exchanges of humanity and disgusting suffering and know in the end love does win.
  15. Hold onto loved ones for the moments of challenge and remember…

” When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” Audre Lorde

About Joy Rain

Joy has been a diversity and inclusion consultant and mediator for over ten years. Prior to consulting, she was professor of Psychology and Women Studies. Joy has a Master of Arts in Psychology (Boston University) and a Master of Education in Social Justice Education (UMASS Amherst).

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