I have been promising a new blog post for weeks and today I thought I would talk about things way more important than taking a break because the reality is that sometimes we can't. I will not be decorating this post with pretty pictures or fancy talk either. I'm going straight to the point. I'd be lying if I said these days haven't affected me emotionally. This past week has re-played in my head over and over again. I held off watching the video of George Floyd getting lynched as long as I could because I had read the spoilers. Eventually I had to face it. I'll be honest when I say that I wasn't surprised, but I still could not process it with ease. I couldn't hold back my tears.
I am a white latina with an American accent when I speak English. I am very aware of that privilege. Here in the United States I "pass" when I know so many others can't because of their skin tone. When people find out I was born and raised on Puerto Rico, they're surprised because they have made assumptions based on my skin tone or my accent. Anyways, I don't want to talk about my roots because that is not the point here. I just want to clarify that I myself cannot even start to comprehend the oppression and judgement others suffer daily just because of their skin tone; because I myself can go to the corner store without being rammed to the ground gasping for air with a knee to my neck. I can run around my neighborhood without fear of being pursued by gun-toting racists. I can peacefully be at home knowing my home will not be barged into "by mistake". THAT is privilege. THAT is what people don't understand. That POC do not have that. My point being, I have no right in saying how they should or should not feel, how they should or should not protest because I have never had to experience racism to the same extent as they have. People are angry. I am angry, but I cannot get in the way of how the Black community has spoken up and demanded justice. I can be an ally. I am one. They are enraged and I am also enraged, but I will follow them because this is not my time to stand on their soap box (no pun intended). I can use my privilege to help raise their voices higher and that is exactly what I intend on doing.
In the recent days I have seen people say "That is not the right way to protest peacefully!" Really? How should the Black community protest peacefully? Kneeling to protest police brutality during the anthem wasn't right, apparently. Speaking up during awards ceremony speeches wasn't either. Apparently bringing in the topic of race and justice made people uncomfortable. "Why do they always have to bring in race and politics into this? Stick to the program!" I could go on and on about the hundreds of ways people have tried to protest peacefully. If you haven't noticed it, YOU HAVE NOT BEEN PAYING ATTENTION. They have been protesting peacefully for centuries. They have been trying to adapt to others' standards of protest. Lives are still being lost because of racism. Racism has always been there. It is just getting filmed now. History will show you that keeping things quiet will not solve anything.
Now, if you feel uncomfortable about what I say here and are against it, please know that you can kindly unfollow. If you want, I can direct you to the unsubscribe button too. If you think I should stick to the program, let me tell you that this is the program. This is my space for my thoughts and the thoughts of my company and my brand. If you think this does not go with my brand then let me tell you that you are bold in thinking that you know more about my brand than me since I built it from scratch on my own. I know who my target market is and it doesn't stand for inequality. The people I want to cater to are people who stand for unity, for love, for equality, for honor. It is people open to education and growth. I live in a city that celebrates all skin tones, all cultures, and all walks of life. There is no room for hate and racism here. It hurts to see people get hurt for exercising their first amendment right to protest TO JUST LIVE. How wrong is wanting to just be able to breathe? Protesting will only be done peacefully when ALL parties unite to abolish racism, when justice is served. I will not allow racism in this space. Personally, I have never been one to keep quiet on calling out any type of racism. Just ask my family.
In the beginning I debated about speaking up as most business owners do because I was still trying to process what we are witnessing. I realized I do more damage by not speaking up. I don't have a huge platform, but it's something and something is better than nothing. On my own personal end, I have been donating what I can to efforts like BLM, writing to my government officials, signing petitions and spreading information. There are many entities you can donate and help with. Research. Speak up. Donate. End institutionalized racism. Do not sit back and expect people to do it for you. I've gathered a few links below where you can donate, read up and sign up. if you have any more to share, please put them in the comments and I will post them. If anyone needs a space to talk, I am here. I will always be here. You are heard. You are seen. Let's do this, bb.
This is a great source on Institutionalized Racism and its history from JSTOR https://daily.jstor.org/institutionalized-racism-a-syllabus/?fbclid=IwAR2OE1bSRR1FJm3nwkZmqhJOnHWQYPGdPgTxelFHhDjo8VuxGkGKx-TPfkY