Colette,

I most definitely remember you. You’re one of the first people I started following on Medium. You have and continue to introduce me to writers I might otherwise miss. So fear not, I most definitely remember you.

A number of Americans are horrified by the recent spate of events over the last few years. To me it’s like a watching a bad reality show entitled, “America in Retrograde.” If it were only just a TV show, I imagine lots of viewers would be reaching for their remotes.

Oh, it’s still gauche for racists to voice their opinions in public. Unfortunately, they’re unaware of it and/or don’t care. But freedom of speech is a cornerstone of America, so you take the bad with the good.

Anger, frustration, heartbreak, outrage, and sadness are all appropriate emotions to the rancor, violence, and abject hatred masquerading political discourse and patriotism. But the real question is this —

what do you (an individual) and we (as a nation) do with those emotions?

In essence there are only two major courses of action:

  • Accept the status quo, or
  • channel those emotions in making America a more perfect union for everyone

And how do you that?

You/We try to affect change with care and respect right where you are in your own unique way. Folks like Donna Brazile, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Shonda Rhimes, and George Takei — to name a very few — have international platforms from which they can spread their messages of equality and inclusion.

The vast majority of us have platforms at our disposal that are just as, if not more, vital: daily interactions with people we know and come in contact with everyday. Most accounts of people who have moved from a bigoted to a more open-minded worldview, have done so due to a direct relationship with someone they know.

The country’s come too far to return things to the way they were. Too many people have given their lives in the fight against racism. And too many more have had their lives taken in that same name.

Hey, you’re not responsible for others’ action. The only person you’re responsible for is you. But I appreciate your awareness and empathy. And you know what else? The healing begins when we forgive ourselves and we try to move forward.

I’ll be sure to check out the books you recommended.

Thanks again, Colette. Let’s hope people will continue to do what they can where they are.

All the best,
Clay.

Written by

Artist, actor, author, editorial director of Our Human Family (http://medium.com/our-human-family). Connect via social media: @clayrivers. Love one another.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store