This week has been a shameful “Come to Jesus” time for me. With the changing of the U.S. presidency, a harsh truth became too obvious to rationalize as not as bad as news reports say. We are a nation where it is dangerous to be a Person of Color, a member of the LGBTQA community, an immigrant, disabled, a woman, financially disadvantaged, or anyone who identifies as something other than Christian.
Intellectually, I can say I understand how these friends of mine feel, and empathically I can say I am sensitive to the fear and sadness they are experiencing, but I never truly can.
As a white, middle-class, married, heterosexual, 50-something, Christian mother living in my predominately white, predominately middle-class, predominately heterosexual, predominately Christian ivory tower, I can never completely understand or know what my friends and family who are not those things are feeling, what they experience daily.
I cannot say what their lives are not that bad. I can’t tell them to “get over it,” to “stop whining.”
I don’t get to do that.
I have a special needs child. If someone tried to tell me how to feel about what struggles my child has, or what I have gone through as a parent, there would be blood.
If we don’t live it, we do not have the right to dictate how people feel or how they react.
My friends no longer feel safe. Their children are bullied in school. Their homes and businesses, their lives are threatened. For what? This is not how the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave is supposed to be.
I no longer get to let someone else stand up for what is right. I have to speak out. I have to challenge the status quo, I have to say, “this has to change,” I have to stand up for people who need an ally.
To my friends and family… what can I do for you? What do you need from me? I will stand with you when you are afraid, when you are threatened, when you just need someone to hold your hand.
I won’t stand quietly on the sidelines any longer. I will stand with you.
When my daughter was young, she and I made safety pin bracelets. This is a good time to wear them again.