These last few weeks have been hard. I’ve been fired up. Anxious. Hopeful that perhaps this is the moment we all have been waiting for: for real change to occur.
As a disclaimer: I’m a brown person (I’m a first-generation Mexican-American) and I have experienced racism firsthand. Sometimes as micro-aggressions and jokes in the workplace; other times as more blatant attacks on the color of my skin. I write this because these experiences influence my perspective on the issue of racial healing. But this all came to the forefront when I saw for the first time George Floyd’s last moments, murdered before my very eyes, infuriating me.
How can they do that?!
The man is literally telling them he can’t breathe!
Someone, please help him!
Here was an act so egregious that it shocked my senses. “Could this happen to me too?” I thought to myself. If we have lost our humanity — when a man is screaming out for breath and no one does anything to stop it — who among us in the people of color category is safe? As a mediator and conflict resolution practitioner, I know firsthand what happens when a history of anger, hatred, and distrust is present between two people. I have discovered that the key to facilitating the conversation is by getting everyone together to work toward next steps, even if that means saying some unpleasant things. For racial justice to become a reality, we need radical collaborations that bring people together to work together toward a solution. That includes people from every creed and background: black, brown, white, Asian, Native, immigrant, LGBTQ, non-binary, Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc.
How can we create radical collaborations to create lasting structural reforms?