Roses and Summer

We’re officially into summer now. Spring was completely and totally weird, due to the pandemic. Think about it – many of us spent big chunks of that entire season inside. We learned how to sew masks (or at least, knew friends who did). We saw scarcity on grocery store shelves. We got used to some strange things – like one-way aisles in stores and shuttered storefronts. Then came atrocities caught on phone cameras and massive protests. So how does that tie into my “year of roses?”

As we enter this season, we need to be aware. Aware that the pandemic is most certainly NOT over and that fall is likely to look quite different than we’re used to, particularly in terms of sports and schools. Aware that protesters have some very good points that need to be directly addressed. Aware that we were not taught huge swaths of history in our younger years. We want to be good people and – right now, right here – we have opportunities to do that.

Please – devote yourself to educating yourself. For the first time, the New York Times nonfiction besteller list is dominated by books dealing with these issues that are so uncomfortable to so many of us. So many resources are available – I’ll just mention a few. There are wonderful lists of anti-racism resources to explore. Try this one. Or this one. If you’re up for it, try this challenge from the American Bar Association – it’s a three-week “course” of readings, podcasts, and videos that I’m finding to be jaw-dropping. I thought I knew.

I thought I knew.

Not knowing doesn’t make me a bad person, of course. But deliberately staying in a state of willful ignorance – well, that’s different.

Yes, I know this post has a very different tone from my usual. But these are not usual times. We take care of ourselves so we can take care of others in this world.

Know better. Do better.

Be willing to be uncomfortable.

Again, I thought I knew.

I did not.

And I’m angry about that. And anger should lead to action.

Roses Protest 2We can change the world for the better. Not taking those opportunities – whether through direct activism in the streets, donating money to worthy causes and institutions, or directly confronting casual racism among friends, family, and co-workers – is continuing to inflict wounds upon the world. We often think of roses as delicate flowers – but they can grow from concrete. And protests are at the heart of my version of “roses.”

Roses.

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