#BuildBackBetter

I know that I am privileged. I’m white and well-educated. I grew up in rural New England with great parents and was sheltered from a lot of the temptations that get young people into trouble. My spouse B and I have been happily married for almost 38 years. We live in an area in the northeastern US that is affordable enough to live comfortably on one salary, so I could raise our family, help care for elders, volunteer, and pursue artistic work without the added pressure of needing to earn income. I have never lived in a big city with a high crime rate, so I can move about without worry, other than the usual caution that all women employ. I can speak freely and follow my religion, although that comes with some built-in sex discrimination. I am relatively healthy and have access to good-quality, affordable health care. When B retires, we have retirement savings and our house to live in. While not rich by US standards, I am aware that I have more wealth than the vast majority of people in the world.

Yes, I am privileged in so many ways.

Because I grew up in a tiny town, only about 200 people when I lived there and even smaller now, there was not a lot of racial diversity. My parents, though, were diligent about exposing us to the wider world and modeled the dignity and equality of all people, as did Catholic social justice doctrine. As a young child in the 1960’s, I watched as the civil rights movement was translated into law and hoped and, perhaps took for granted, that progress was being made toward the equality that the United States had so long touted.

While acknowledging that some progress has been made, there is still so, so much wrong, which is why the death of George Floyd at the hands of police – on top of so many other deaths of black and brown people in police custody; decades of inequality in education, housing, employment opportunities, and pay scale; violence; the higher rate of illness and death from COVID-19 among people of color and those living in poverty; unequal laws and enforcement resulting in large numbers of black men in prison; obstacles to voting; the recognition that many of our essential workers are poorly paid people of color; discrimination; and personal attacks of all kinds – has caused such anguish, outrage, and action across the country, not just among the black community, but among people of all races. People in other countries are demonstrating not only in support of the US civil rights and Black Lives Matter movement but also to highlight discrimination in their own countries against indigenous and black and brown people.

The vast majority of these protests have been peaceful, which made the recent clearing of the park near the White House all the more appalling. There have been other instances of violence against peaceful protesters and the press, which are totally unacceptable and against the US Constitution and laws. I also oppose any violence against the police or other protesters, arson, theft, and the destruction of property.

Because of my age and the need to protect myself and my family against COVID-19, I have not been to any protests in person. There have been several peaceful protests locally, including some directed against our county jail, which has a percentage of inmates who are people of color much higher than our population and a distressingly high number of inmates who have not been treated sufficiently for medical conditions and/or who have died. We have not had the kind of looting here that has happened in larger cities. There has been a very sad case of arson, the destruction of the premier accessible playground in our area, although no one knows whether or not the person/s involved were motivated by the murder of George Floyd. There has been an outpouring of donations to re-build this special place as soon as possible.

As a white person, I can’t know what it is like to be a person of color, but I do have a window into it from members of my family. Two of my brothers-in-law and my son-in-law, as well as their children, are people of color with personal or family roots in Asia and Africa. They have shared stories with me about fear when being stopped by police, about being followed and asked to leave a store while shopping, and about loss of educational opportunities. They hear derogatory language based on their race. Sometimes, their status as a family is questioned because they are bi- or multi-racial.

Our Declaration of Independence says that all “are created equal” and entitled to the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We need to carry this out, however belatedly, and maintain it for generations to come. As the late Rep. Barbara Jordan said, “What the people want is very simple – they want an America as good as its promise.”

How do we accomplish this? When I wrote this post a week ago, I did not have concrete ideas, but I have since heard a number of proposals, some around policing and legal practices and some that attempt to rectify consequences of racism in the areas of health care, housing, education, and employment. This gives us an opportunity to advocate with our local, state, and national representatives to enact new laws and policies to move us toward equality. It also means that we can use their positions on these proposals to evaluate candidates in upcoming elections.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to attend several webinars about the path toward greater environmental and social justice. Hearing leaders articulate needed actions and policies gives me hope. Another very hopeful thing for me is seeing the two youngest generations, often called Millennials and Generation Z, stepping forward with ideas and action to shape our future. These young people are more diverse and generally more accepting of personal differences than their elders. Much of the recent energy behind environmental justice, gun reform, and racial/ethnic/gender equality has come from these younger people. I know that I am a better advocate for these causes because of what I have learned from my daughters and their peers.

To me, all of this work is about respect for the dignity of each person and a moral obligation to care for others and for our global environment. There is so much work to do, but, together, we can #BuildBackBetter.

One-Liner Wednesday: economic justice

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt
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Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday! Find out how here:
https://lindaghill.com/2018/05/30/one-liner-wednesday-precognition-or-coincidence/

SoCS: almost crawling

At seven and a half months, Baby ABC is almost crawling.

She is expert at reaching for things while sitting and then pushing herself back to sitting after she has grabbed whatever she wanted. She rocks on her tummy like a little boat. She grabs at things with her hands and pulls herself along the floor.

Her newest trick is to tuck one knee under her while sitting with the other still flat on the floor for balance, which extends her reach and is the closest to crawling yet.

I think we had better do some serious babyproofing this weekend. It won’t be long now…
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This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot It January. The prompt for SoCS was to write about movement without using the word. You can find out more about #SoCS and/or #JusJoJan here:
https://lindaghill.com/2018/01/26/the-friday-reminder-for-socs-jusjojan-daily-prompt-jan-27th-2018/

 

 

re-jiggering

Facebook is not so subtly reminding me that I haven’t posted for a week. (People who are on Facebook are cordially invited to “like” the Top of JC’s Mind page here.)

I had made the mistake of making a plan for the last week. After getting daughter T on the plane to Hawai’i to visit daughter E, I was going to spend a lot of time writing, both here at Top of JC’s Mind and in continuing work on my poetry collection, in anticipation of needing to take a writing break beginning on the 17th when Nana was scheduled to have a diagnostic heart catheterization, part of the continuing saga of the fainting episode in April.

As often happens, life laughs at my plans…

The day after T left, Nana developed shortness of breath and wound up in the hospital with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. Fortunately, treatment improved her symptoms a lot and she was able to head home within 24 hours. Unfortunately, the episode precipitated  a further delay in the heart catheterization, now pushed back to August 31st.

Not much writing got done in the last week, but I am tempting fate and re-organizing.

I’m pleased to report that I wrote a new poem this morning to fill a hole in the first section of my collection. The poem is about Nana and her father, so it was nice to be able to talk to her this morning and gather some more information that I needed.  I have sent her a copy to review and will plan to workshop it with my poetry group when next we meet.

Yay! I managed to accomplish something in my plan!

And I am writing this post!

Two things!

Crossing my fingers that things will stay calm in the coming days  so I can get some more creative time in before my planned break beginning August 31st.

Or, if something does come up, I’ll just re-jigger again.

I’m really getting quite good at it…

 

 

Revenge of the Fitbit – part two

Recently, I wrote about having to stop wearing my Fitbit because I broke out in a rash from the band.

I have been wearing my new (hot pink) stretchy wristband for a few days now and just discovered that I can still feel the Fitbit vibrate when I meet my step goal.

…which also means that this is the first time I have met my step goal this week.

So, yay, me! Making progress!

My arm is still healing from the rash. I am such a delicate flower!

One-Liner Wednesday: Gloria Steinem quote

“Imagine we are linked, not ranked.”
~~ Gloria Steinem

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday! Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/03/23/one-liner-wednesday-its-als-fault/  Enjoy our badge by nearlywes.com.

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One-Liner Wednesday: environmental education

“Whereas in the beginning it [environmental education] was mainly centered on scientific information, consciousness-raising and the prevention of environmental risks, it tends now to include a critique of the ‘myths’ of a modernity grounded in a utilitarian mindset (individualism, unlimited progress, competition, consumerism, the unregulated market).”
— Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ paragraph 210
(In preparation for the upcoming Paris climate talks, I am sharing some quotes from the papal encyclical.)

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays!  Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/11/11/one-liner-wednesday-a-cup-of-cheer/

One-Liner Wednesday – Progress

“I don’t understand why when we destroy something created by man we call it vandalism, but when we destroy something created by nature we call it progress.”
– Ed Begley, Jr.

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/01/21/one-liner-wednesday-laugh-a-little/

One-Liner Wednesday – Shaw quote

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
– George Bernard Shaw

This post is part of Linda’s One Liner Wednesday:  http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/one-liner-wednesday-insignificant/. Please, join us!