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.”



5 thoughts on “gratitude-a-thon day 3001: when you know better, do better

  1. Hi Toni.

    I try and read your posts when they arrive, but I just found this old one that was unread.

    1. This really hit home. I started hosting Creators of Change calls after George Floyd’s murder, vowing that I could not simply wringe my hands wishing there would be change — as in after Sandy Hook, after mass shootings, after other Black lives had been snuffed out. I also created a resources page that you might want to check out (the 13th is high on my list of recommendations!).

    Back last spring, I could not believe how much I was unaware of and ignorant about, and I am grateful to have people along with me on journey. I thought the focus would be more about doing, but it turned out we realized we needed to really educate ourselves AND do — as in have courageous conversations, be more aware of day-to-day things (in our responses and what we observe), financially support good causes, volunteer in a variety of ways, and more.

    2. Reading this after we have turned the corner and have new leadership could not be more gratifying! Like you, I am beyond grateful that we got to today, after being on a knife’s edge that could have gone in other directions (national and Georgia elections, insurrection, last-minute Trump horrors…).

    So, I hope you are enjoying this gorgeous day, and allowing yourself the release of tension that we all need, and I love knowing we are in this together, focusing on true racial and social justice.

    xx, Rochelle


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