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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Casteel

How You Sleep at Night?

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

This is what white privilege looks like. (That's right, buckle up, we're doing this). I wrote this on April 25th. Was going to post it earlier this week and then George Floyd was murdered by police. Looking back at this in the light of his murder, got me thinking about all the white privilege I have. Then it hit me that this haiku is probably one of the better illustrations of what white privilege is like. It's all bright rainbows and happy unicorns even when the world's on fire and other people are being murdered by the police.

Out of all the privileges I have, the worst is that I don't have to fear that the people that my tax dollars pay to protect us might kill me or my son. On Monday, I attended a Kneel in for Justice at city hall organized by my friend Phelicia Jones founder of Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community - Justice for Mario Woods. One Speaker, Jessica from Fairfield, shared words that still resonate with me.

Watch the video. Hear her words. They need to be heard. They need to be felt. If you can't bring yourself to watch it, at least read the excerpt from her speech below.

"amen you guys I feel like um it always takes another hashtag for us to see this type of population come and join in solidarity and it's just not enough enough is enough but this is not enough like they say we need to know how many people are gonna stand behind us you know in solidarity when the crowds are gone and I'm sitting behind closed doors crying wondering if the next time I send one of my sons out will he to be another hashtag they should not be just another hash tag your black children your black boys and girls they should not have to fear that if I decided it's cold outside I want to put a hoody on my head then I am gonna be a victim of getting another police brutality I should not have to have a conversation with not only one two three or four of my black boys to tell them that your one job is to get home safe and alive no mother should have to worry and contemplate whether or not this is the last moment I get to hug my child breathing"

No parent should have to live with the constant fear that their child may be killed by the police. And she's right that enough is enough but this is not enough. Whoever you are and whatever you have done to be an ally, you need to do more. I need to do more.

  1. Listen, Learn and Share Seek out black voices. Hear their stories. Share their stories. A good place to start learning if you need a primer is the comic series March that tells the story of Representative John Lewis and the years of protest it took to enact the civil rights legislation of the 1960s.

  2. Attend Protests One protest isn't enough to change things. We need more people demanding justice continuously until change comes. Nothing will change if we stop caring before change is enacted.

  3. Donate If you're here in San Francisco, give to Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community - Justice for Mario Woods. Phelicia Jones has been organizing protests and providing food for at risk members of the Bayview Community during the shelter in place for Covid 19. I've been a regular donor and supporter of their group since it was formed after Mario Woods was killed by police a block and a half from my business in the Bayview. If you're not in San Francisco, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund fights to win landmark legal battles, protect voters across the nation, and advance the cause of racial justice, equality, and an inclusive society. I donated to them this past Monday and I recommend you do too.

  4. Demand Change from Your Leaders One of the most important platforms for change right now is the 8 Can't Wait platform of 8 police reforms to reduce police violence. You can check to see if your city has implemented them at . San Francisco has implemented all 8 of them.

  5. Black Lives Matter all the time Don't stop fighting until we've achieved real change. People in power are counting on us moving on and forgetting after a short period of grief and anger. Don't forget. Don't move on until real change is achieved. Hold yourself and your friends accountable for keeping focus on this issue and that includes me. I'm trying to do the best that I can, but I know there's more that I can do. If there are other ways I can help, please share them.

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