When Racism Speaks

Be still and listen, my grandmother said.

This is my reawakened arena for healing and self-care, personally and for the planet.
Less pontificating.

I was in a meeting last week.  There was tension.  The ending was uncomfortable. I felt silenced. Many felt there was no resolution.

How could there be? The topic was epic. Racism.
The time small. Two hours.

What do I remember?

Only the stories. None of the opining, preaching and lecturing.

I remember the story a black woman told about her fear of driving alone late at night on dark county roads in South Carolina. A fear I, as a white woman, seldom experience.

I remember the story another woman of color told of mounting fear for her five sons after watching a documentary on lynchings.

And I remember the frustration a woman from Honduras shared at frequently being invited to be on boards of organizations but soon realizing she was a token, she had no real voice.

At first, after the residue from the meeting drifted away, I resolved never to speak again. My stories felt insignificant in light of all these women had experienced.

As the days passed, my courage began to rise.  I must speak, I affirmed. I must rise each day, dress for being seen, for being heard and be prepared to speak if necessary.

Every day demands the courage to speak and when I have drawn to me all my allies and power tools, my thoughts are clear.  Even my work jeans and bandanas become power tools for statement making when chosen consciously.

Each day that I step into is to be seized and made magnificent.  I will not hold back for fear of being insignificant. After being still and listening, I will speak boldly when necessary.

These are the things my grandmother taught when we went to visit in her tiny house on the edge of the cotton field in west Texas.  Always dress up when you go to town, she said.

This is what grandmothers teach, even if they birthed no children of their own. They have lived long. They have experience. They are wise.

Be still and listen.