2020 is a year for waking up.
COVID has impacted everyone globally. The continual unrest in Hong Kong is bubbling back up. The fact that unarmed African Americans are being killed in the US is being brought to light. Plus so much more in a whole list of other countries I haven't mentioned but are equally as important.
Most recently, it’s been extremely disturbing to witness the recent acts of violence and racism in the United States, including:
- GEORGE FLOYD The peaceful, unarmed, African-American man in Minneapolis. He died last week at 46 years old after a white police officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck as he gasped, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd was arrested after he allegedly attempted to use a $20 bill in a deli, which an employee identified as counterfeit.
- CHRISTIAN COOPER The 57-year-old, Ivy League-educated African-American man who was bird-watching in New York’s Central Park. After asking a white woman to leash her dog, she became verbally aggressive. For his own protection he started recording her on his phone. She told him to stop, saying “I’m going to tell [the police] there’s an African-American man threatening my life.” She proceeded to call the police and said: “There’s a man, African-American… he is recording me and threatening me and my dog… Please send the cops immediately”
- BREONNA TAYLOR The 26-year-old African-American medical worker who lived in Louisville, Kentucky. She was shot more than eight times and ultimately killed when police officers entered her apartment while she was sleeping. Police entered to serve a search warrant for drugs -- none of which were found in her home.
- AHMAUD ARBERY The 25-year-old unarmed black man who was jogging in rural Georgia in broad daylight and fatally shot. He had been followed by two armed white men, father and son, who claimed that he looked like a suspect in a string of local burglaries.
These are just some stories from the past few months....
When the world is full of so much strife, unrest and destruction, we can naturally find ourselves feeling helpless, and unsure of how to actually make a difference.
Personally I've found myself a roller coaster of emotions with what's unfolding across the world...
In one moment I'll be laughing with my kids and so present with them and in the next moment I'm spontaneously in tears, feeling despair about the pain in our world and ashamed of my role within it.
With everything unravelling in the US, I'm re-navigating my role in perpetuating the systemic injustices of the world.
As a woman of Chinese and Irish heritage, born and raised in Hong Kong, I've personally benefited from the colonial systems that white privilege has afforded me. And I'm being reminded of how important it is to actively do the work to do my my part.
These times are calling us to just wake up and question how are we living, leading, loving and working as well as how are we relating to each other.
I believe that we're all here for a reason.
No matter what our individual and specific reason, we all have a part to play in bringing back the human in humanity and doing our part to divide the gap between us all.
I believe that there are two parts to answering the question:
"How do I navigate the world during these times and do my part to be anti-racist?"
Part 1: Honour your body and what it's feeling
Naturally what's unravelling in the world may have you feeling anxious, despair, angry, rage, helpless, shame, guilt...the list goes on.
What’s happening in our world has an impact on us in our nervous systems.
We feel all of this deeply.
In a world where there is so much pain and hurt, it can feel like it’s all too much.
What can happen as a result is that we can:
Armour up to the world: shutting down, not reading the news, not wanting to partake in the world.
Numb out: this looks like us reading about what's happening but then letting it wash over us without emotion because if we dare stop to feel, it may just wipe us out.
We can't afford to do this anymore. The privilege of being able to armour up or numbing out means we're not looking at what's uncomfortable, taking action, standing up for and using our voices where it counts.
My call to action is to check out this blog post:
Albert Einstein famously said:
"You can't solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that create it"
The blog post above will guide you on a process to feel what you're feeling and find a sense of stability and safety from which to then move onto Part 2.
Part 2: Listen, learn and get educated
I started my education on racism and privilege under a year ago when I read (the then e-book format) of Me + White Supremacy by Layla Saad.
It's been a continual journey one that I am still on scratching the surface of.
I want to share with you a list of resources, books, and people to follow to get you started on your path to unpack your privilege.
Caveat: I have not personally worked with all of the people mentioned. I simply have read or follow their work. Please use your own discernment to read up and learn from who feels like the right fit for you.
If you know if anyone who I should add to this resource list, please leave a comment. I want to build this resource for us all to deepen into.
Sharyn Holmes: Founder of the Formidable Voices Community, based in Australia.
Robin DiAngelo: Author of White Fragility
Audre Lorde: Writer, feminist, civil rights activist.
Rachel Ricketts: Spiritual Activist
The Conscious Kid: Non profit organisation providing parenting education through a critical race lens.
Therese Cator: Spiritual leadership coach and teacher
That's a wrap (for now).
This work is important. It's uncomfortable. I don't have all the answers. But I desire to be a part of the solution.
My hope is that you join me. If you want to continue the conversation, come on over and join the Soul Aligned Professional Women Facebook Group where we'll be going deeper into all of this on Thursday 4th June.