covid-19, equity, mental health, social justice

Don’t Stop! Keep Pushing! #BLM

It’s no secret that I have been feeling overwhelmed these last weeks. My health hasn’t been great (see my previous blog post – the cough still lingers, so I’m still under quarantine), and with everything going on in the world presently? Between the revolution, JK Rowling’s further attacks on the trans community, the lack of foresight and planning by the SK government, and everything I’m dealing with on a personal level with my family, work, and eduction (and I KNOW I’m forgetting a whole ton here)? It’s just a lot.

I’ve got plans for posts… including a very important one on helping to support your family members who are dealing with clinical depression either as a long term condition or as something resulting from all the change we are seeing in our lives right now. But it seems every day brings a new crisis in our world, and even keeping up with all the important changes is more than many of us can do right now.

That said, I realized that I needed to get on here and make a post.

Silence is Violence!

And I will not be silent.

If you follow me on FB (and I’m easy to find, I’m the only Tobi-Dawne Smith out there) you know that most everything I post is set to public. I believe in living out loud and being accountable. Further, if we want to create change, we need to be visible. So visible I am. But I haven’t been very visible here lately.

There is little I can say that hasn’t already been said by someone else, and more eloquently than I would. I have been using what words I’ve been gifted with to comment on the posts i see on FB shouting things like “all lives matter” or “blue lives matter” or “the minute you start looting you lose credibility” or “if you say defund police but really mean reduce funding to the police, I can’t support you because I don’t like your word choice”. And yes, people have been saying all of these things, over and over again and with the vitriol of people who know they may finally be losing the fight to keep BIPOC under their shoes.

I am exhausted. But I won’t stop. Those who are facing oppression don’t have the choice to take a time out or a day off from that reality, so I won’t either.

So I ask that you forgive my lack of blog posts lately. I only have so many spoons, so many forks, so many knives to give during the course of a day, and I am utilizing all of them to combat the racism I see on my FB newsfeed.

And yes, I’ve blocked a ton of these folx too. I know I shouldn’t, because for some of them I am the only dissenting voice they hear, the only voice not propping up their own. But with some, after years or decades of trying to get through, you know you are simply banging your head against a brick wall. You will not get through, and will only leave yourself bloodied.

And then there are those who legitimately break your heart, because until now they have been able to keep their internalized racist ideals and mentality quiet and hidden… there are those who have been able to keep silent until now. People you thought understood. People who you thought got it. People you would never have guessed actually believe that they deserve to be treated better than others, and that BIPOC get what they deserve. Those ones? They really hurt. I have cried over a few of them, mourned them like they died because in spite of every effort, in spite of every kindness, in spite of every fact pointing to their being oh so very wrong, they will not change and they fight tooth and nail to cling to their messed up and oh so quickly fraying and fucked up reality. Those ones hurt.

Know my silence here, on this platform, is not respective of actual silence. I am being loud. I am doing everything in my power to boost the voices of those who are so often ignored or actively shut down.

For the first time in a very long time, I actually have hope that things are changing. As difficult a time as this is, I can see change happening. Police departments are being defunded (partially or entirely), many people who previously fought against the idea are starting to see the merit in a guaranteed livable income for all people, folx who otherwise might have been silenced are being given a platform and are actually being listened to.

Change comes with discomfort. It’s not easy or simple, but it is worth it. And as odd as it is, Covid-19 may have given us a perfect storm within which for all this momentum to gather and occur.

It’s a weird and fucked up time, but holy hell are there big things afoot, and it is beautiful and scary and hopeful. So keep pushing! I know you are all tired, but keep pushing. It is being felt.

Words over a glittery rainbow flag stating “Celebrating Pride this month means reaping the fruits of Black, brown, and trans organizers who -yes- threw rocks at the police and destroyed squad cars. Riots and looting are legitimate forms of protest against a system that values goods and services over human life. Happy pride. #Blacklivesmatter”
Words against a brick red background stating “Transphobia isn’t an opinion. Racism isn’t an opinion. Homophobia isn’t an opinion. Sexism isn’t an opinion. You don’t get to “just disagree” about someone’s identity and human rights.”
Image features a BIPOC individual holding up a sign at a peaceful protest which says “We’re not trying to start a race war. We’re trying to END one.”
A smiling Black child holding up a sign for all those who STILL don’t get it, explaining that “We said Black Lives Matter. We never said ONLY Black Lives Matter. We know all lives matter. We just need your help with #BLACKLIVESMATTER for Black lives are in DANGER!”

Keep pushing! Big things ARE happening. As the kiddo above communicates with their awesome sign: our Black family, friends, and community members need our help. So, white people, if you can, get out to whatever protests are happening in your area (and there are a ton of guides for wippipo attending #BLM events online right now) and bring water and food to share. If you can’t get to protests, donate to bail funds and legal funds to help those protestors who have been arrested. If you don’t have the resources to be able to donate, boost the voices of BIPOC folx online and in conversation, and do what you can to help educate those who don’t get it. We can’t reach them all, but i know we can reach some.

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