These are difficult times. Emotions run high. Our black brothers and sisters are hurting, and rightly so.
It is a regrettable and shameful reality that we live in an era where it is necessary to explicitly say that black lives matter, but that is the point, isn’t it? In the year 2020, we must look in the mirror of honesty and truth and admit, it isn’t an accepted and universally acknowledged fact — and is, therefore, an equally and absolutely essential fact that we must proclaim … that black lives matter.
Recently, I was struck by a LinkedIn post from a former colleague that has stuck with me. My former colleague shared an emotional post about how he is struggling to make sense of the recent deaths of his fellow black Americans. That list includes George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and an astoundingly long list of black people – human beings, individuals, someone’s father/mother, wife/husband, son/daughter, friend/colleague – who have senselessly died or been treated as something less than a full and equal person simply because of the color of his or her skin. It is well past time that we come to terms with our nation’s 400+ year history of racial oppression at the hands of people who look like me.
To illustrate and emphasize the point, what follows is a portion of the powerfully insightful post I referenced above (I am intentionally not sharing my former colleague’s name out of respect for his privacy)…
“…I am NOT OK. I am not ashamed to say it. I AM NOT OK! When people who look like you, are from where you’re from continue to die in such a public and obviously criminal way, you should not be surprised that I am not OK. I’ve become the master of compartmentalizing pain, hurt and disappointment while reporting to duty every day giving 100%. Why? To make others comfortable. This is literally killing me and people like me from the inside out … in the eyes of many in this country, regardless of my achievements, what I’ve given or how I’ve lived, I still don’t belong and don’t add enough value to just be allowed to BREATHE… I am not OK, but I am not hopeless; I am not OK, but I am not defeated; I am not OK, but I am breathing so that means there is still work to be done and I am more committed than ever to be a catalyst for positive change!”
For my friends and colleagues who identify with those words and are “not OK” – my response to this former colleague goes out to you as well … “While I can never walk in your shoes, I am not OK, because you, and millions of our fellow humans, are not OK. And while I cannot walk with your feet, I can – and do – lock (virtual) arms with you in the commitment to being a catalyst for positive change.”
So, if you are not OK, I’m not OK.
At Clear View Strategies, we are committed to listen, work, pray, and act to reshape this world into the vision Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently expressed when he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” We will work towards a day where – instead of dividing us – our differences, including the infinite number of human skin colors, are celebrated as a glorious representation of all that God has made.
I pray for that day to come soon.
Paul Cantrell, President
Clear View Strategies, LLC