"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is growing [the fuck] up." - James Baldwin
June 25, 2020
One month ago today, George Floyd died in police custody. A bystander recorded his life literally being choked out of him as an officer knelt on his neck for nearly 8 minutes. This isn't anything new. I could list name after name of black men being killed by police and, after a couple days of outrage, nothing happens. But, this time is different. Is it because we are in the middle of pandemic that has taken the lives of 125,000 (to date) or is it because we've been confined to our homes for nearly three months? Is that what it takes to get America to listen?
"Love is a battle"
Let's be honest, the battle has been ongoing for more than 400 years. But, when the video of George Floyd's murder was released, people became outraged. Since that day, there have been protests (still happening daily all around the world), counter protests, buildings set ablaze, black men lynched, statues toppled, peaceful protestors teargassed and shot with rubber bullets, police arrested, Aunt Jemima (and others) rebranded, confederate named buildings and bases renamed, active steps on police reform, Black Lives Matter painted on the street by the White House, talks of defunding the police, white supremacists losing their minds tearing down BLM signs, and oh so much more. All while an inept president stokes the flames of hate daily.
"Love is a war"
I have seen the good, bad and the ugly as people take sides, share their feelings and reflect on what they truly believe. I've watched my husband struggle to find the words to express his outrage. I've watched my daughter struggle with how to deal with racism in the workplace. How to deal with the little black square they posted in support of Black Lives Matter when, Black lives don't matter. I've watched business leaders release generic statements of support (noted), say nothing at all (noted), fuck up, listen and genuinely take steps to be better (also noted). I've watched my mother block me on social media (leaving this here, for now). I've devoured posts, threads, books. I've been silent for days and had deep conversations on others. I've stayed in bed for days and worked non-stop on others. I've withheld food some days and binged on others. I have felt complete and utter hopelessness, and bursts of joy, as I allow hope to creep in to those dirty, dark old familiar places.
"Love is growing up"
In reflection, I realize that I have been gliding...content with not rocking the boat. Maybe one day I'll share more deeply why, but the important thing is I know it's time to grow up.
My tools are dull. I've been spending time weeding out which ones are useful and which ones are not. I've been sharpening old ones and finding new ones. During this process, I've listened to my body and know that it's time to honor Diversity Beans and move it away from its mama (she had her day but it's time to move on).
"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does."
It's messy. But I'm up for the challenge.
P.S. For newcomers, Diversity Beans used to be a part of a website of diversity products that I created 20 years ago. She deserves her own place to grow and flourish.