The uprising we could all see coming – BLACK LIVES MATTER

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" MLK Jr.

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“First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” Letter from Birmingham Jail by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., 16 April 1963

For the past couple of days, I’ve been struggling to find the words to articulate my thoughts on the black lives matter movement for equality in the US as protests sweep my home country. My desk is littered with unfinished notes, yet no words seem to fit or right to share. I was afraid to say the wrong thing. I was afraid of saying something that could be perceived as racist, so I just didn’t say anything MEANINGFUL at all.

But then the realization hit – this isn’t about me. 

MY silence is just as bad as any words of outward racism. In the silence of the white moderate, of white girls just like me, lies the true killer. This silence in which I have been complicit in what has allowed POC to be persecuted, hurt, threatened, and killed for centuries. Silence is the knee on the throat, suffocating human lives.

I’ve been breathing the air of racism my entire life.

I am racist. Fuck, that was hard to write. Something I’ve learned is that in reality, we are all either racist or actively anti-racist. There is no middle ground.

Just like the three policemen who stood by and watched Derek Chauvin kill George Floyd and did nothing about it, we cannot stand by and continue to be silent while our fellow humans are dying.

As the great and indomitable Maya Angelou once wrote – “do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

I won’t be patronizing and say easy fluff words like “I’m sorry or I see you, and I hear you.” Fuck that. Who cares? It means nothing. Instead, I’m committing to showing the fuck up alongside POC to upend the system (in which I’ve been complicit) that intentionally suppress basic human rights.

When your government fails you, you dissent. When your nation kills you, you fight back. When your country doesn’t follow its own constitution to provide “equality before the law,” you hold them accountable. When your “leader in chief” threatens violence, you vote him out.

black lives matter

This doesn’t end with protests. This ends when black people and POC live and are treated equally and with dignity.

My heart breaks that I can’t be in the US to protest in person right now, and truly do the hard work of showing up. I may be stuck halfway around the world behind a closed New Zealand border with no passport but I will do all I can to show up and be an ally and truly support the people who need it the most now. Are you committed to showing up too?

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

BLACK LIVES MATTER. 

SAY IT WITH ME ONE MORE TIME, BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Places I’m donating to:

Books I’m reading to un-learn my racism:

  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo 
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander 
  • Freedom Is A Constant Struggle by Angela Davis

Names of victims I’m honoring:

  • George Floyd
  • Breonna Taylor
  • Eric Garner
  • Ahmaud Arbery
  • Freddie Gray
  • Bothem Jean
  • Atatiana Jefferson
  • Amadou Diallo
  • Jonathan Ferrell
  • RenishaMcBride
  • Stephon Clark
  • Jordan Edwards
  • Jordan Davis
  • Walter Scott
  • Alton Sterling
  • Aiyana Jones
  • Yvonne  Smallwood
  • Mike Brown
  • Tamir Rice
  • Philandro Castile
  • Trayvon Martin
  • And thousands more.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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15 Comments on “The uprising we could all see coming – BLACK LIVES MATTER

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  1. Hi Liz,

    I’m genuinely curious how you reconcile these statements with the ones you made four years ago, when a number of people tried to tell you why your comments about Asians were racist and you refused to see us or hear us. Your comments then did not treat POC with dignity, and attempts to call you in as an ally were disregarded. Talking about showing up is one thing, but I would love to hear how your thoughts & actions have changed and will change since coming to the realizations you’ve stated above, and how you will reflect those changes moving forward.

    1. hey! thanks for holding me accountable, I reconcile it easily, I was super ignorant before and spent the past few years working on improving myself and un-learning my racism. I literally could not see my privilege before and I’m super ashamed of the things I used to say or believe, I’ve apologized and I’ll keep apologizing but also improving too – I’m so sorry. Since then I’ve just been doing the work of supporting POC, supporting organizations when I can’t be there in person, and currently working on how I can pivot my platform to include and support other voices and POC, especially here in NZ. I’m also trying to share my story of growth in the hopes that other people can relate to it and change as well. Now my work is to be actively anti-racist. I know I’m still a mess, and I can always do better, but I’m committed to using my voice and platform for good. And I’m really sorry I was such an idiot. It means a lot that you showed up here to even say anything, thank you, and I’m sorry.

  2. Um… didn’t you get paid to do press work for the De Beers Group? A company anyone with any sense of racial history would understand the harm they’ve done to black people in many countries. One of the most obviously problematic companies in the world when it comes to race. This post is a nice pat on the back for you but come on. Maybe donate what you made off that press trip.

    1. How do you know I haven’t donated? I am actually a big advocate for learning and growth, for myself and the companies I work with, and what DBG has been doing for decades is really powerful and incredible. Basically half of the company is owned by Botswana, and their empowerment of black people there, especially women, is freaking amazing. I would encourage you to set aside any perceptions and dig into their modern work because it’s really cool. You can’t continue to hold countries or companies accountable for actions from lifetimes ago today. I grew up on stolen land built by slaves to begin with and I live in a place now where you could also say the same thing. Otherwise, it’s also worth taking a deep look at your own work with the responsibility of commerce. In all likelihood, you’re typing this to me on a device mined by child slaves. Something to consider.

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