gratitude-a-thon day 2003: Yes, there are still things to be grateful for


Ok, so last week I had a little combo stomach/headache/nausea thing (although whenever I’m nauseous, I always wonder if it’s just the fact that Trump is president). It wasn’t going away, so I emailed my doctor, wondering if I could be one of those people who gets weird Covid symptoms. She suggested a test. I drove to Needham, where a very nice nurse, with a mask and plastic face shield, dressed like she was the first Beth Israel employee to go into space, stuck a Q tip up my nose straight through to my brain (it didn’t hurt, but it did surprise me). I do not have Covid. Gratitude. (Also, I feel better, although still nauseous every time I think about Trump.)

See, it basically goes right into your brain.

Yesterday I watched a really good Zoom talk sponsored by Boston University’s Initiative on Cities called Confronting Systemic Racism: Policing, Mass Incarceration & Black Lives Matter. These were some extremely intelligent and accomplished people, including Brookline’s own super-smart Select Board Member, Raul Fernandez. I learned a lot, like did you know that Massachusetts has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the country, and even that’s extremely high. There are informative and engaging talks, books, and people out there offering us free education and I for one am taking advantage of it. The more I know, the more I can do the right thing that’s in my heart, which over the years, was not actually the right thing, as it turns out. Gratitude.

We’ve got work to do as a town, but signs point to progress. This is located in front of the Brookline Town Hall.

Massachusetts Covid rates are consistently trending downward. No, we’re not out of the woods, but at least we’re going in the right direction. And more good news about this state I live in: The Boston Globe reports, “The vast majority of Massachusetts residents see racism as a systemic problem, believe police treat Black people differently than everyone else and support sweeping changes to policing, a new poll found.In the wake of hundreds of protests decrying racism and police brutality across Massachusetts, a strong majority of residents in every age group, race, and region said they back the Black Lives Matter  movement, according to the Suffolk University survey for WGBH News, The Boston Globe, MassLive, and the State House News Service.” Yessiree, I love that dirty water! Gratitude.

Despite being an incredibly tumultuous time in history, there are loads of things to be grateful for if you look and set your intentions on finding them. Hoping you are safe and fighting for what matters right now.

gratitude-a-thon day 3001: when you know better, do better



This is one of my all-time favorite quotes ever, EVER. Right now, I’m living for it.

In the last three months, the world has changed in unimaginable ways. Some bad and some so good, so necessary. Some days I have found myself rattled and confused, unable to grasp the immensity of what’s occurring in real-time, not sure how to respond, what to say, or even how to come to this blog and write.

I don’t usually censor myself here. I write what I think, what I believe, what I feel. But I have found that I have been so woefully out of step with thinking what a good liberal I was, I forgot to actually be proactive in the fight against racism. See, I have learned that to have the ideals that I have, you have to be anti-racist, you have to support the black community, you have to demand change. I was not actively facing the facts on race in this country. Once I began to see the difference between thinking I wasn’t a racist and being anti-racist, shame came rushing forward like fucking Niagra Falls on steroids. Let’s be clear, I don’t think I treat anybody differently, I don’t judge a person on skin color or religion. This was my definition of not being a racist. But ugh, I could have been using my lily-white privilege and voice and actions to be lifting up the the black community and I have not been. And for that I am embarrassed and ashamed. For that, I have found myself afraid to write from my heart, for fear that I might unwittingly say something insensitive.

This is maybe the first time in my life I have had so much to say, but been utterly terrified to say it.

Which is why I’ve been listening instead of talking or writing. My daughter Ally, who wants to be a public defender and knows a lot about mass incarceration has been helping me to learn all that I don’t know (or have been ignoring). We watched the movie 13 the other night, after my first BLM protest and if you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend, as in, cue it up right now and watch it before breakfast. Ally had already seen it, but took the time to elaborate on the history of the black prison boom in the U.S. with thought-provoking facts and figures, as Peter and I sat rapt and horrified.

The gratitude is this: I believe this is an honest to goodness, Come to Jesus moment where we finally begin to understand and take action regarding race in the United States of America. I might be misreading (again), but I don’t think this is going to be momentary. I think this is it, when we all open our eyes and begin to see a brutal reality. As the great Maya Angelou says, “Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.”



Gratitude-a-thon day 3,000: walking the walk


I’m a caucasian woman in her early 60’s, raised by a Jewish dad and an Italian Catholic mom. Both sets of my grandparents were immigrants. I live a life of white privilege because of my skin color. Not because I wouldn’t like to, but I can never understand the black experience first-hand. But what I do understand is the outrage, the pain, and the sadness about not only the way George Floyd died, but the bigger issue of racism in our country.

What I do understand is that I am not intentionally part of the problem, but nonetheless unwittingly complicit.

What I do know,

is how much I don’t know.

And what I do know is that it’s time for me to stop saying “I’m not a racist,” and start educating myself on how I can be an ally to the black community. For someone who is as liberal as I am, who grew up with parents who taught me that skin color and religion didn’t matter, to always help others, I am embarrassed to say I am not doing enough.

Are you? Are you doing enough?

What I do know is that this is my smack in the face to wake up and get moving. And I plan on it. I will read. I will watch. I will listen. I will think. I will ask questions. I will learn. I will use my voice in a positive way.

This is what I can do to honor George Floyd. This is what I can do to be part of the solution.

This is what I can do. And I will do it.

Yesterday I began reading The New Jim Crow. I donated to The Minnesota Freedom Fund. What are you doing? How are you helping? Please share. We all need to do better. This isn’t just a black issue, it’s a human issue.