Have you ever asked yourself, what does it mean to stand up for something, to believe in something that is much greater than yourself?
A few weeks ago, I attended and participated in the Cleveland #BlackLivesMatter Rally. An unforgettable experience to say the least. Many emotions poured in before, during, and after. I was able to connect with friends and family in solidarity. Throughout the day I witnessed great progress and destruction. I felt pain and liberated at times.
One moment that remains with me was when we were marching past the Cuyahoga County Justice Center and we heard inmates stomping, banging, and yelling. In great harmony with them, we stopped and began chanting “We Hear You, We Hear You!”
The energy was so tangible and contiguous. When I got home I called a close friend who is also involved in the community to talk through our experiences and next steps. Since then, I've had numerous conversations about the rally and rallies taking place around the world specifically regarding social justice and change. Talking through strategic action steps and expected outcomes.
I’ve challenged myself not to accept “this is the way things are” or “things won’t ever change” because these mindsets have contributed to systemic oppression. There has been an awful spirit of hopelessness in our communities that has deprived us of truly experiencing freedom.
As mentioned in my last blog Be Strong & Courageous (Click Here) I’ve had to learn new ways to process. During this time, I intentionally needed to process my thoughts and experiences thoroughly. A few practices that I’ve applied includes, but not limited to:
Driving more regularly since most of my work is remote now. I make it a priority to get in the car and drive. This obviously includes some loud music to vibe to.
A road trip out of state: I took a road trip to visit my uncle in Nashville a few weeks ago. This was refreshing, gave me time to disconnect, and provided a new environment.
Long walks: These walks have given me clarity and provided an outlet to release frustration, uncertainty, and even anxiety plus its good exercise.
Conversation (listening and speaking): calling people to talk through experiences. Especially on work calls that intentionally provide space to dialogue what we are experiencing.
Solution Driven Mindset: critically thinking through solutions and how to execute during this time.
Like many of us, I’ve been witnessing a whole lot which had increased my consciousness and alertness. The practices above have provided new outlets and tools to manage emotions and process thoughts. It’s no secret that I’m a spiritual person, a person of faith which is at the foundation of all things for me personally. It’s this faith that has led me to view things from different perspectives and not just one-sided points of view.
I know we are all experiencing a lot at this time from the scare of a global pandemic to protesting in our cities. I don’t have all of the answers nor do I act as if I do. One thing I know is this truth, we were created to be equal. Society, government, and man’s agenda have divided us. The strategy has been to put us against each other and to see our differences as disadvantages.
In the context of race and several other misinformed gestures we have been manipulated, controlled, and separated by the color of our skin, the language we speak, space, and time. However, that is coming to a drastic end as we unite, love, and support each other. From the foundation of love all things live!
"We are one people".
Now, more than ever we have the opportunity to be awakened to the fullness of being one. Not divided but united. Standing up and speaking up.
There’s one common fundamental practice we should be embracing which is love and support. We must love each other. We must support each other. This unity has led us to create a pledge to stand up and speak up.
Stand Up. Speak Up. “A Pledge To Unite”
We stand up and embrace that we will walk with our sisters and brothers.
We stand up and say no more.
We stand up to be all that we're called to be.
We stand up to be love.
We stand up to be light.
We stand up to be life.
We stand up for life and not death.
We stand up for health.
We stand up for equality and equity for all.
We stand up with the youth.
We stand up with the voiceless.
We stand up with humanity.
We speak up in truth.
We speak up together.
We speak up for justice.
We speak up for peace.
We speak up when our voice cracks.
We speak up when we see injustice.
We speak up when we witness inequities.
We speak up with compassion.
We speak up with love.
We speak up with humanity.
We pledge to stand up with you.
We pledge to speak up with you.
We stand up for the many black lives taken by our justice system.
We stand up for the many native american women that have been missing and murdered.
We stand up for the many immigrants that are locked up at the border.
We stand up for the many black and brown babies dying from infant-mortality
I ask you to take this pledge and make it your own by adding how, what, and who you stand up for and speak up with. By pledging we turn this from I into WE. We stand up! We speak up!
No longer allowing our history, past memories, and subconscious to control the narrative. Let’s partner together to be one. One voice & One people.