I feel like there’s been a death in the family.
Often people don’t know what to say to a friend or family member in times of grief and sadness. We don’t know how to share grief. And then we shut up for fear of saying the wrong thing, of making it worse. And we humans do, on occasion, say some really dumb things while trying to be helpful. But grief, sadness, and the anger that can come with death need to be shared. People who are hurting need to know we are with them.
And it’s in that frame that I write today after the events in Charlottesville, VA. I don’t know what to say that hasn’t been said already and more eloquently. I don’t want to say something stupid or hurtful. And yet, I know silence is as hurtful, maybe more so, than not trying.
I’ve been naive. I knew white supremacy wasn’t dead and buried, but I did think we were doing better. It never occurred to me that in my lifetime, I would see pictures of Americans proudly using the Nazi salute. And that’s just the first of the list of things that have happened in Charlottesville and across the country in the past year or so that I would never have believed could happen.
In our front yard we have the sign that says what we believe: Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights are Human Rights, No Human is Illegal, Science is Real and Love is Love. We also hang an American flag from our flagpole each morning because we believe in the idea that we in America can learn to live out our highest ideals.
To my friends, colleagues and people I’ve never met who haven’t been able to be naive because of their skin color, their faith, their gender identity, to everyone who’s been afraid to hold hands with the person they love because they were the same gender or a different ethnicity or religion, to anyone who’s been told ‘you can’t do that’ because they navigate the world from a wheelchair or with a guide dog or use a hearing aid, I’m angry too. I grieve with you. I see you. I stand with you.
“Now, all we need is to continue to speak the truth fearlessly, and we shall add to our number those who will turn the scale to the side of equal and full justice in all things.” Lucy Stone