There’s been a kettle on the stove of America for quite some time. It’s been brewing, ever there, but it has been ignored. This kettle is filed with vileness, injustice, and oh we’ve stirred that pot many times, but we forgot, we didn’t tend to it, and now, it is boiling over, spilling out into a place that we have no way of cleaning up. We were once able to quell the damage that this kettle could do, we had a sponge that would easily wipe away any messy spills, it was okay, for a while, but now, now it is bubbling up and over until we can no longer ignore it, and it serves to say that it is time, well time, that we didn’t try to wipe it away.
When I was a child, I would often play with the neighborhood children, they were from all walks of life. Black, Asian, Indian, White, and all nationalities. We, or rather I, didn’t see a difference. We were make-believe teachers, doctors, nurses, zookeepers, and whatever else our minds could dream about. Sadly, because little Joe or Jasmine was different, their parents and my family wouldn’t allow us to play with each other anymore. My family was too busy wondering what would others think. We were just kids, we didn’t know, we just wanted to play. I never understood it was because they were black or Muslim, or greek. I just knew that they took my friends away.
As I grew, I began to see that “Archie Bunker” mentality. I never treated people in that manner, while I heard it in my home growing up, I tuned it out and chose to decide for myself. I guess I just had a more accepting heart because I heard stories of injustice, I saw things on the news that made me shake my head and brought tears to my eyes. Even in my teenage years, I saw so much, but I grew up in the church, my hometown was Franklin Square, New York. We had a lot of diversity, I could walk up to town from where my home was and visit a Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant, the owners used to give me free eggrolls, I would go visit a deli and I learned from the shop nearby what soul food was, collard greens and black-eyed peas, I ate my chicken with curry and curried vegetables, so, I didn’t care, honestly to this day, I still don’t. I swore then and there, when I was a teen, that I would never be like my Grandparents, I would never judge someone simply because of their skin tone. I decided to choose empathy and love and compassion and to find balance and rapport with all people. What that choice did was open up so much possibility, to learn from other people’s stories, to hear of history through someone else’s eyes.
Look, it’s true what they say, people are taught to dislike things, they are taught to have suspicion, my biggest question was why? It made no sense to me. Why wouldn’t someone be taught to have respect and act in dignity to everyone? Everyone has the right to common decency, the right to be heard, to be honored for their traditions, their culture. Why would someone be above the rest?
The protests were a long time coming. The voices, they needed to be heard. Too much has happened, that pot on the stove is ready to explode. We need to be the catalyst for change. Why did we think that ignoring an explosive situation would make it go away? I choose love, I choose empathy and understanding, I choose to let these voices rise because, without it, there are people who will never be heard. It’s necessary. I stand with you, and I support you. I hear what is being said. Can you?
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr. Do you know what this means? It trickles down, to everyone, eventually, to us all. It doesn’t affect just one, it matters to us all. Hear what your brothers and sisters are saying.
Maybe the best way to put it, is with an old EDM music community saying “PLUR” which stands for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. This isn’t just for one, it is for all, for all beliefs, colors, creed, wherever you come from. Let’s start with the least respected and honored. Let’s make that change.
You can follow and support tons of businesses on social media, small business owners who have overcome so many boundaries. There are many who have had to make it on their own out there, who became success stories in their own right. Let’s offer a hand, instead of offering hate, let’s help instead of turning away or pretending that we don’t see. One account that I follow is inspirational, and this is a woman who makes an impact every day in what she does, manages to keep it real, and has also inspired me. Follow Kinya Claiborne, founder and editor in chief of Style & Society Magazine. I had the pleasure of doing a phone interview with her for a digital magazine years ago, and we met at LAFW in 2017. We have been social media buddies since then, and she has never failed to show me the meaning of true leadership and community impact.
Voices can and do make a difference in this world.
I will leave you with a poem that I wrote that was previously published on Medium.
Embers of Change
Voices raised, we are the fire.
Ever led to make a better world.
Flames of words, spurred by injustice.
Equality, the water we need now.