I’ve been away. Not away, per se, but away from writing. I took a writing break. A pause. There is no reason except to say I needed a break. Maybe it’s because I write about social justice and sometimes you just need to take care of yourself. Maybe I was overwhelmed with all the killing of black men and women. Maybe my work was calling my attention. Maybe I needed to be present for my stepmother’s cancer journey. I can’t exactly pinpoint it, but I just couldn’t force myself to sit down and comment on the world.
I’m giving myself permission to take that break. I wouldn’t have done that before going to an ACPA (American College Personnel Association) Mid-Level Management institute a week ago. It was there that I realized it was OK to take care of yourself.
So how do I make up for the last six blogs I haven’t written? How do I comment on the strange that is our present moment in this world? I can’t. I can only try to look at the positive (one of my strengths, by the way) and hope that all this sadness is taking us to another level. A recent poll stated that 60% of people were concerned about race relations in the U.S. Three years ago, it was only 30%. I think that is positive. The more folks are concerned, the more they will, hopefully, begin to look inside themselves and uncover what their own biases and internal oppressions are.
I love this post by a colleague The Perpetrator was Caught, but the Killer is Still at Large. She says everything I think and feel and said years ago. I wrote an op-ed in the local newspaper after the Jonesboro shooting in 1998. 17 years later, here we are.
Painful realities like this are the ones that call me to escape, to use my privilege and drive away, running to nature where you can feel protected from the hostility and hate in our world. As much as I would like to do that, I know I am called, instead, to speak out against injustice and to educate others about it.
I was a witness and a participant last night at our First Year Orientation’s program by the Social Justice Institute. It was moving and powerful. I never expected that a group of almost 400 students could come together over their differences and similarities in a large group format like that. The facilitator did an activity similar to the “Step Forward/Step Back” activity where he would read a slide and students would stand up if the slide resonated with them. I was astounded by the numbers, students who spoke more than one language; students who grew up in homes with violence; students who knew someone who had attempted suicide; students who had attempted suicide. That moment gave me pause.
What have we adults done to allow this world where so many young people are witnesses to violence and anguish? I wanted to run through the crowd and hug everyone one of them and say “You are here now. You are loved.” But I can’t save any of them. I can only continue to be a model and a guide.
How are you adding to the conversation to make this world a better place?