Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Dear Fellow White People,
Today I attempted to do dip-pen calligraphy for the very first time. I wanted to write ‘Black
Lives Matter’ in beautiful scrolling font, but as it turns out, calligraphy is quite hard- it takes
practice to turn out something halfway decent. I thought I'd just wait to post something until I'd
had enough practice. But then I realized that this is by far the better post. Here's why:
Understanding white privilege, our contributions to systemic racism, and how to truly be an anti-
racist ally will not be immediate for any of us as white people. We have lifetimes of unlearning
to do, and beyond that- generations and centuries of inherited racism to address on levels
personal and universal. This kind of work cannot be completed by watching one documentary,
taking a 3-hour training at work, or completing a course in college.
In this pursuit of showing up for people of color, we will struggle, be humbled, embarrass
ourselves, be put on the spot, and have to learn some things the hard way. We will have to learn
what our society has failed to teach us by listening, reading, learning, unlearning, sharing,
failing, and trying over and over again. It is a path that requires humility, one that will last a
lifetime, one that is painful, raw, tiring, vulnerable, and sometimes frightening to walk.
For many of us, these facts stop us from pursuing the path at all. We stay silent and complacent
because we are afraid and uncomfortable about what we do not know & what we must face about
ourselves. Some of us have already made mistakes and been humbled and it makes us want to
back away from these conversations and movements altogether. Some of us are too afraid about
the changes that these truths will make in our relationships with others, our selves, and our
But think about how many times you've done this in your life: taken on something that you were
unlearned in and perhaps terrible at to start, and worked until you were proficient, skillful, or
even able to teach or sell it. Think about how hard you have worked to get to where you are in
your studies, at work, or at your favorite hobby. You were willing to suffer, learn, fail and try
again to achieve what you desired. Don’t you desire equity for all humans even more than that
recipe you’ve perfected or that promotion you earned? Isn’t this pursuit also worthy of your time
and energy?
If we truly desire peace and sustainability on this planet, all of us need to be willing to do this
work for Black lives, for all disenfranchised lives. All of us must move forward with the courage
and will-power necessary to walk our paths according to the truths of love and justice.
Working, practicing, and growing in the skill-set of anti-racism is so much more important than
good calligraphy. Anti-racism will save lives. If I can find the time and humility necessary to
learn from my short-comings as a calligrapher so that I can be proud of my calligraphy, I can
also find the time and humility necessary to learn from my mistakes as a human being, to commit
to a path of life-long learning of anti-racism so that I grow to be a force for equity and justice for

I sign off with the following words to call you to your path from the late John Lewis:
“You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or
diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean
toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. […]
Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don't be afraid to stand up, speak up, and
speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the
affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great
dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved
Community that is finally at peace with itself.”
― John Lewis, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America

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