Black lives matter
Like so many millions around the country and around the world, I am saddened, fearful, and angry at the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others before them. My heart goes out to the families of each of these individuals who died senselessly, and in such a brutal way.
I want to acknowledge that whatever I say here will be flawed, but I'm trying to move away from my fear-based default of not saying or doing anything when it comes to matters of racism, towards some sort of action, however small and imperfect.
I often feel hopeless contemplating the impact one person's actions could make on the systemic racism that has been pervasive in our country for hundreds of years. And it's certainly not as easy as following some checklist or action plan - if it was that simple, racism wouldn't exist. But everything I've learned from equity trainings and the reading I've been doing suggests that we don't need to go big to begin. Rather, each of us, and especially those of us who carry the privilege of whiteness, must self-reflect. It's not comfortable to admit to biases, even if unconsciously held, but it's an essential first step before we can hope to change our interactions with others or make an impact on our broader community. This is svadyaya, self-study. I'm reading books recommended by those who know so much more than I do (see the list of resources below). I'm seeking out knowledgeable and compassionate leaders in the movement and listening. And then my practice is to take baby steps speaking up in small ways rather than staying silent. What can you do now, right from your own home? I encourage you to start with educating yourself, as I am. 1. Listen and join the Conversation Yoga Alliance is hosting a free Community Conversation on Yoga and Race Relations led by Tyrone Beverly (who is amazing) this Friday, June 5th from 2-3:30pm ET. I will be tuning in to listen and learn, and I encourage you to attend. And please spread the word! Register here. 2. Talk with your Kids (or explore this great resource yourself) Chicago Public Schools recently put out a guide to having conversations around race and civil disobedience, but it's not only for children. It contains a ton of links to articles and resources that help facilitate thinking and conversation around key questions surrounding racism, the trauma caused by racial violence, and the impact of media. 3. Explore these Educational Resources & Ways to take Action and Donate How to Be Antiracist White Fragility Raising White Kids Between the World and Me ACLU NAACP White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy Racial Healing Handbook NYT: A Conversation on Race - A series of short films about Race in America
As we teachers like to say, yoga is about self-care. But it can be more than that. Let's use our practice not only to care for ourselves, but also to do the hard work of honestly looking at our own beliefs and actions so that we may first act more consciously and compassionately in our everyday interactions. Only then can any of us hope to contribute to a change in the systemic racism that has taken the lives and liberties of too many. This starts with each of us as individuals. I encourage you to begin that reflection for yourself, in your own home, right now. More importantly, continue that work once time passes and the media attention surrounding George Floyd's murder fades. My books are stacked up and I'll be joining you - reading, listening, and learning.