Life & Culture

Open Letter to the Black Community

My dear brothers and sisters,

Our country has come to a pivotal point in the fight against racism, a cause I wholeheartedly support. During these past few weeks, I have been attentive to the cause and trying to learn as much as possible, which has required a lot of self-reflection. 

Being born and raised in Long Beach, California amongst so many people of color, I never felt that I was a racist person. I wasn’t color blind, but I did not discriminate based on skin color. I thought I was so forward-thinking by introducing my family to the black community, their culture, their art, their music. Heck, my family honestly thought I was going to end up marrying a black man – but that’s a different story. My friends came in all different shades and shapes. I always connected better with colleagues of color. Living in Atlanta for the past five years has heightened my awareness of racism and discrimination or so I thought. My newly acquired knowledge and self-reflections have taught me that loving and appreciating you, your culture, and your community is not enough. Not being racist was not enough.

I should not have assumed that because I “knew you” I knew your story and history.
I should have spoken up when my family would make derogatory comments about dark-skinned people. 
I should have stood up to my boss when he asked me to “diversify” my predominately black team.
I should have asked the tough questions when I noticed the black community underrepresented in spaces I frequently visited.
I should have acknowledged your intersectionality. 
I should have acknowledged my privilege as a non-black person in this country. 
I should have been equally outraged for every single black life lost to police brutality.
I should have been educated about systemic racism. 

My commitment to the black community is to be an outspoken, anti-racist ally for life. 

I still have a lot of learning and unlearning to do in order to do this effectively, but my commitment stands for the long run. We are currently experiencing a moment in a much larger movement and I am preparing myself for this marathon of activism.*** 

My promise is to interrupt racism in my everyday day life – at work, with family and friends, in public. 
To be mindful of my unconscious biases.
To have the difficult and uncomfortable conversations. 
To educate my future children and younger generations on the importance of being anti-racist.
To continue using my leadership positions to support and provide opportunities for the black community. 
To exercise my voting privilege to drive change.
To use my public platforms to bring awareness to the black lives matter movement.
To ensure black lives matter in our country and around the world.

In love and solidarity,

***Yes, I fully acknowledge my privilege of learning about racism rather than experiencing it the way black people do in America. 

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