We all resist in our own way. And if we are not resisting, then we are acquiescing, complying, obeying, accepting and approving.
As a mother of two small children, I’ve found myself continually wanting to do more to fight against the injustices I see. The few things I have done feel very small and insignificant, yet I do believe that every thing we do has a ripple affect. So every action, no matter how small really does make a difference. Here are a few things I’ve done to try to take a stand.
I recently ventured out, leaving my children with my husband so that I could attend a couple of activists meetings to see how my family could get more involved in the fight against police brutality. I’ve shared petitions and videos of police brutality on Facebook. I have pleaded with friends to take whatever action they could. I’ve taken my three-year-old and five-year-old to a church town hall meeting where we discussed police brutality and what, as a organization, we can do for our community. My husband and I made calls to our mayor and requested that he take action against police brutality happening in our community. I’ve shared information about activists meetings with friends and encouraged those who have time and a desire to attend and support. I voted.
After a family trip to Legoland my son confided in me that he wishes he was all Asian and not black or white. We talked about the fact that at Legoland and within the Lego character collections there are almost no brown skin characters and the only main character who is brown skin is a girl who is portrayed somewhat negatively in stark contrast to all of the other characters. I encouraged my husband to help our son draft a letter to send to the Lego company addressing this issue.
The educational system is no exception. My sons first kindergarten theme was about Christopher Columbus and his homework was to memorize a poem that went something like this “Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He bravely left the shore of Spain in 1492″… I questioned my son about what exactly he was taught and I gave him a more accurate description of what happened to the Native Americans living here when Christopher Columbus arrived and there after. I also found supplemental education on Brain Pop on our iPad to give my son a more complete and honest understanding about the colonization that happened as a result of Christopher Columbus’s trip to the Americas.
I say all this not to boast, because I feel completely powerless and helpless in making a change or affecting the wave of racism, hate and bigotry that seems to be over taking this country. I know that it’s really nothing new. This country was founded on robbing, tricking, murdering and oppressing the people indigenous to this land. This country’s wealth was built on kidnapping, enslaving, and brutalizing black people. Racism, entitlement, selfishly using others (capitalism) is what this country has always been founded on.
There are those of us who aren’t willing to continue to live like that. How do you escape a system that you are entrenched in, dependent on? The reality is I have children that I need to get to school on time and well taken care of. We need food to eat and a place to live. We need money to pay the bills. I’m scared to go and join the protesters because if I’m arrested who is going to take my children to school? If I take my children with me to the protest what if they’re hurt? These all sound and feel like excuses yet they are my reality.
I have to face the fact that I have other limitations, we have marriage issues that we can’t ignore and I have health issues that I have to attend to in order to be of any use to myself and my family.
Although my situation is uniquely mine, I know I’m not alone in this feeling of powerlessness. I can only imagine how the mother or father who is here undocumented must be feeling right now. What can he or she do to resist? Getting arrested or even calling attention to themselves would not help anyone.
One of my therapist suggested that I be the change that I want to see in the world, like Gandhi. My other therapist suggested that I funnel my energies into volunteering or giving money and support to the groups that are being attacked. I really like both ideas and as trite as they may sound, neither is easy to do consistently.
So, here I sit, not at all proud but rather humbled. I am resisting and I will continue to resist. And I support all of my fellow brothers and sisters resisting in whatever way they can.