Let me go ahead and say this so you know where I stand.
I am of African American heriatge and I am of Indigenous Nations heritage. Because I am of these my history is dark and gloomy, but it as bright and beautiful just the same. People tell me and those of my cultures not to talk about or remember our heritage because it intersects with another race (many of that race, not all, but many) that doesn’t like to be reminded of it’s heritage; though its interesting because Jewish people remember, talk about, and are even asked to relive the darkest time in their history. Why can’t I? My history spans more than 500 years. How and why must we be told to let go of and forget our history?
The truth is, I can, I do, and I will remember and talk about my heritage and history. It is valid, important, and it matters. I will not forget my roots, I will not forget the people that I came from, I will not forget or let go of the struggles, trials, tribulations, obstacles, unfairness, injustice, and cruelty that encompasses my past; because there is also life, love, unbelievable strength, unbreakable will, endurance, hope, belief, faith, greatness, intelligence, beauty, badassery, and goodness that came with those dark times. I will not forget those who paved the way for me and my family to be where we are and do what we can and love today. I will not let go of the hurt, frustration, and pain that envelopes my past, because it is a large lesson that helps me and those I love in our present. I remember, and I will remember, I talk about, and I will talk about, I honor, and will continue to honor my ancestors. I will remember, I will talk about, and I will honor my heritage. I will never forget. I will always remember.
We all matter, and when everyone starts to get the hint and actually start to treat each other that way that statement will be relevant. But for a very long time, and still to this day, not everyone is treated the same, not everyone is treated the way they should treated, not everyone is given what they desereve. Peoples of Indegenous Nations, Black people, Latin people, Asian people, poor people, middle class people, homeless people, mentally ill people, people with no job, people looking for a job, people with “lower end” jobs, people with jobs that are forced to do the work of 3+ people, immigrants, people’s of certain religion’s, the list goes on. It’s not only about saying you acknowledge, respect, and accept others, it’s about acting on that and actually acknowledging, respecting, accepting, and supporting others. You don’t need to agree with someone’s lifestyle or who they are to treat them like a decent human being and respect them as such. And that’s what this all comes down to. Live and let live, love and let love, acknowledge, respect, accept, support. The only time any of us should have a problem with someone else is when that someone, or group of people, is infringing upon or harming us or another. This is not how we are living, not on a mass scale anyway (because there are other people like me who believe this same thing. There just havent been enough of us that think and believe this way to make this the norm), and this is the problem.
People complain about those like me who speak up when something is wrong, unfair, unjust. People whine when people like me speak up about something that we can control and make better, instead of being a part of the solution and the move forward towards a better life and world for all. People make excuses, deflect from the point, completely miss the point, and turn things and situations into what they are not to make things about themselves and demonize others. People don’t treat others the way they should be treated, people don’t love others the way they deserve to be loved, people ignore others and their hardships, people sit by and watch silently as others are wronged and hurt. People support hatred and succumb to willful ignorance, and fear, and blindness, and try to make those who suffer and/or are oppressed “the bad guy”. Then you have people who are a part of those mistreated, wronged, and hurt groups who do not suffer directly and buy into the lies, hate, fear, and cruelty of those who are above and against them. People say one thing and live another.
We have every right and reason to stand with and for one another. But that’s not the way it’s been, and that’s the problem. There are people who are too blind and willfully ignorant to truth to see this and understand it. I call upon my fellow human beings to use your intelligence, your empathy, your compassion, your heart, your spirit to see and deal with things as they are and do what you can, where you can, how you can to make life better for all. If you do your part, I can listen to you and work with you. If you don’t, you have nothing to say to me and nothing to do with me. I believe in change, I believe that people can change, and I hope that people do change for the better. But if you are not interested in making life better, loving people, doing right by your fellow man, living your life to the fullest without infringing upon another, learning, growing, and moving forward, we are not going to be friends and I will not sit by silently and idly and let you infringe upon another. I will not tolerate prejudice, hatred, injustice, greed, or any type of unnecessary negativity toward myself or others.
I am here, I have a voice, I have an able body, and I will do all in my power to shine my light, be good, do good, and love myself and my fellow living beings. I stand for, fight for, and believe in peace, justice, equality, understanding, learning, growth, life, light, goodness, and love; and I will defend them at all costs. I will not be silent and I will not do nothing when my family is in need. Humanity is my family, animals are my family, nature (the earth, the sky, the stars, the universe) is my family. You threaten them, you threaten me, and I do not take kindly to threats or promises of hatred. You are either for love and life or against them. There is no in between. It is your choice, and when you let me know where you stand, I will believe you and act accordingly.