As I was working on my latest recipe post, I started getting that writer’s itch. You know, the one where I start writing something in my head. I kind of obsess over it until I have the time and attention to nail it down into the tangible.
Although I have shared some on social media, I have not addressed it here on the blog.
It just didn’t feel right to publish new regular content until I share what is on my heart.🖤
I grew up in the deep south, USA, right in the epicenter of the birthplace of the civil rights movement – Montgomery, Alabama. I live in Birmingham now, which is also where so many of those pivotal events took place.
Growing up I learned about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Booker T. Washington and many others. I grew up in the same literal space where all of that actually happened. We took field trips when I was younger. So many historical spots were just a short car ride away.
I was taught about how those heroes fought to get laws changed on the books and to give literal rights to my black brothers and sisters. I learned about segregation and integration and how things got better. I went to public schools that were integrated. Half my classmates were black.
However, I witnessed so much racism still happening then, as well as today. Some of it is outright, and much of it is more low key and hidden in people’s hearts. Or spoken in all white settings where I guess people felt safer voicing such things. 🤷🏼♀️
I heard adults I love and respect express disapproval when a black family moved into the neighborhood. I noticed how blacks and whites hardly ever dated or married each other. I saw how black and white girls could be friends at school, but never played at each others homes or got invited to each others slumber parties.
There were (and still are) many, many invisible lines. Boundaries. Walls. Even as a small child, I felt in my heart that this was so wrong. It perplexed me. It made me very sad. I felt powerless to change something so huge and insidious. And most of the time I said nothing.
Racism exists in layers
Reality in general, and racism specifically, exist in layers. There are physical structures – actual laws, physical experiences, physical reality, etc. And yet there are many layers beneath that. Tone, emotion, intent, belief, assumption, fear are examples of this.
As a sensitive person who happens to be highly intuitive, it is super easy for me to see the layers, especially the non physical ones. So today many of our laws on the books are more just, thank God. I am so thankful for that.
But there is still a lot of racism in people’s hearts, both conscious and subconscious. We’ve got work to do. We can do better. This is a multilayered problem with roots in the spiritual.
I see some many people say ALL lives matter. Of course they do. It is my personal belief that each human being is of infinite worth and created by God. When you say ALL lives matter, you are looking at the literal. While that statement is completely true, it is missing the point. I am asking you to go deeper.🙏🏻
There is one very specific group of people – black people – who have experienced the evils and pain of systematic racism. They need to know that they specifically matter.
Black lives matter is not an endorsement for any political organization. I am apolitical on this blog and all my social platforms. We must not let it be politicized. Black lives matter is simply a humanitarian truth.
Also! I want to say for the record that “mattering” is the minimum. To my black brothers and sisters: Black lives are loved. Black lives are worthy. Black lives are needed.
May we have ears to hear to listen to you and hearts to understand.🙏🏻 What is low key and beneath the surface for us white folks is very real and tangible to you. And it needs to change.
I have so many things I want to say. Let’s face it, brevity has never been my strong suit.😜 So I am going to bottom line it and write a pledge to my black brothers and sisters. Because being a true ally goes beyond posting black squares for one day. As your ally, here is what I promise to do.
Allies: A Pledge
- I promise to deeply listen with attuned ears.
- I promise to have the humility and self awareness to recognize my own racism.
- I promise to have empathy and to make an effort to understand that your experience is so different from mine.
- I promise to boldly speak up for you when injustice or unfairness comes into my awareness.
- I promise to diversify my social circles.
- I promise to serve alongside you. Helping others together unites us in service to humanity, and it reminds us of our Divine calling.
- I promise to teach my children to be advocates and allies.
- I promise to intentionally practice inclusivity in all aspects of my life: in worship, in career and professional settings, in social settings.
- I promise to help build a better reality where NONE of us are enslaved in any way, but truly free to live out our individual Divine callings.
- I promise to embody integration on a deeper level. It goes so much deeper than sharing the same physical spaces with each other. Integration means unity. It means taking one another’s well-being as part of our own. It means “you and me” rather than “you or me.” It means helping each other put the broken pieces back together physically, emotionally, spiritually and energetically. TRUE integration is one of our Divine assignments as human beings. We are made to work together as one. 🙏🏻
Thank you for this meaningful post. I don’t see when you posted it, but today it is meaningful as in the past. I will make this pledge with you to all underserved brothers and sisters. Discussion and speaking up are the only ways we can move forward as a caring society. Much love!
Marjorie @APinchOfHealthy says
Thank you for this Gayle! I wrote it right around the George Floyd incident, in summer of 2020.