2020 seems to be the year of change.
We started out excited for a new year, that clean slate that so many people view January as. We wrote down our goals, purchased our new calendars and with our planners ready, we welcomed 2020 with open arms. All of this in preparation to change our lives in new and exciting ways.
It started off great, then 2020 smirked and said let's see how ready you truly are for change.
In March, life as we knew it was turned upside down with COVID-19. Stay in place was our new life. We watched a hoarding mentality take over as toilet paper and groceries became hard to purchase. Fear of the unknown took over as our routines were turned upside down.
Gyms closed, all non-essential retail closed and so many people found themselves out of work and unsure of how they would be able to hold on the lives they worked so hard to create. All of this while people were getting sick and losing their lives to an illness we never saw coming.
For 3 months we were all challenged and forced to face our emotions about what was going on. Some of us embraced this time and viewed it as opportunity to focus on education and creating change in our lives. To be grateful for the little things we tend to take for granted on a day to day basis.
Some of us felt lost without our normal routines. We missed our friends and loved ones, our social lives and the freedom to come and go as we wished. This left many people experiencing depression and loneliness. Some of us even had a breakdown or two during this time because there was so much uncertainty.
No matter how you reacted, there were a lot of thoughts and feelings involved, and that was 100% normal.
At the end of May, our country began to slowly open back up and again, there were a lot of feelings involved. Debates on our country's reopening moving too fast or too slow, our economy, our safety and many other opinions on the pandemic altogether. We were faced with change yet again and the feelings that comes along with it.
On May 25, 2020 our world was rocked again.
The events of that day left George Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis, MN dead, after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was handcuffed face down in the street, telling them "I can't breathe".
This event was caught on a video and shared across social media for all to see. That video left me speechless.
Over the last week and a half, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has come together to speak out about the repeated mistreatment of black people with protests across the country. They have an important message and that message needs to be heard.
These protests unfortunately did not remain peaceful and I wholeheartedly do not believe that is because of #BLM. I believe any large, organized crowd leaves room for opportunity for others to have their own agenda to create chaos and change the narrative of what is going on. We have seen this many times in the past and we need to keep our eyes wide open during this, but this is a topic for a different post.
I am a woman of white privilege, and I struggled with putting my feeling into words for the last week. I am struggling to write this now because this is a such a emotion filled time in our country and I am not one to speak without first taking time to educate myself.
So what is my goal with this post?
My goal with this post is to encourage people, especially those who have been raised with white privilege to educate themselves.
Take the time to listen to what is being said. Take the time to have open discussions with those who have different view points than what you have always known. Take time to self-reflect and make change with your behavior if you need to. Read, listen to podcasts and educate yourself however you can!
Don't run to social media and post just for the sake of posting, just because you don't want people to take your silence as not standing with this important cause. Thinking on a deeper level and looking into ways to contribute that can help change occur is more important than posting about something you might not truly understand.
This is a complex issue that has been around since before our country was formed. But that doesn't mean that we cannot create change now.
Be mindful that the media controls the narrative. Do not only believe what you see on the news. Do the work to learn all of the facts before you speak.
If you want to share on social media, there are many great resources that you can share, but please, make sure that you take the time to research that what you are sharing is correct.
Share posts about books or podcasts that cover this topic in detail or share posts to resources on how to contribute via petitions and donations. Support and share info on local small, black owned businesses and donate to help those who lost theirs during the peaceful protests that turned violent, so they can recover.
Overall, it has been incredible to see people of all races and backgrounds come together and stand in solidarity to give more volume to a very important voice. We need to come together to share resources, foster education and keep people informed.
When you look at 2020 and the series of our current events, there is no correct reaction. It is however, important that we remember to have is empathy. Empathy is how change can grow in momentum, because when you show empathy, you are open to learning and understanding where another human being is coming from with their thoughts and emotions.
Change is hard but it is also necessary.
We aren't expected to have all of the answers and know the exact course to take to create this change. As with fitness, change stems from trial and error, from owning our own shit and failing forward until we find what works. We need to take time to learn, to grow our mindset and be open to new ways of doing things, because what we have been doing just doesn't work anymore.
Let's not forget that we are still facing a pandemic during all of this. Please be smart if you choose to join peaceful protests and wear a mask. If you contract COVID-19, that is one less voice that can contribute or be heard, and this movement needs as many voices as possible right now.
We are only halfway through 2020 and November holds an election in the United States. An election that is very important after what this year has shown us so far.
Educate yourself on the candidates, who backs them and who funds them. Make sure that you are registered to vote as well. The power to create change is in our hands, so make sure you are doing all you can to help the vision of change come to life.
2020 is going to be a powerful lesson in history books years from now. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
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