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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Casteel

This Moment Right Now

The struggle continues. I've decided to do my part by bringing back #GivingTuesdays by posting a giving challenge each week in support of groups working to stop police violence and support the African American Community.

The reason I'm doing this is that I can no longer accept the police state this country has become. Not only do we have the most incarcerated people in the world of any country, but we also have the highest rate of incarceration. In all the uncomfortable but necessary conversations happening right now, we all need to keep those facts front and center and ask ourselves, are we OK with that. I know I'm not.

As my son and I have attended protests demanding justice for what happened to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, we've already seen the numbers of people coming out in support decline. This is the sinister nature of privilege. If it's not happening to you, it's hard to stay focused on the problem, though it is still there. That's why I'm dedicating every Tuesday to the cause. I can't forget, I can't move on while my African American friends live in fear of dying at the hands of those sworn to protect them.

For this week's giving challenge, I'm donating to the Equal Justice Initiative. The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

I've donated $500 already to them and I want you to help me donate even more. I'm matching another $500 worth of donations to EJI from now until July 7th.  Just post a picture of your donation receipt and tag @dadkupoetry and I'll match your donation.  If I hit the goal of matching $500 in donations, I'll increase the match amount for next week's giving challenge to $1000.

These are trying economic times and I know that a lot of people are stretched thin, so I'm offering another way to get me to donate more to EJI. For each person that watches the Netflix documentary 13th and posts about the moment that moved them the most and tags @dadkupoetry by July 7th, I will donate $10 to EJI. If you haven't seen 13th, you need to. 13th lays out the scope of the injustice of mass incarceration and police violence in a way that makes it clear what's at stake at this moment in history. I leave it to you to decide which side of the fight you're on, but know that there are no sidelines. Silence or Inaction are support for the status quo of mass incarceration and police violence.

None of us put this system of oppression in place. It was here long before any of us were born. While we are not responsible for its creation, we are responsible for our response to it. You have a choice.

To quote @mehcadbrooks

These identities are not ours. They are history's. This is not between white people and black people. This is about policies that are designed to create and preserve inequity, protect oppression, the sociological myths that keep us at odds and the traditions we must allow to fade into the midnights of the past. It is hard to believe but you could be one of the heroes of the civil rights movement. Yes you. Human equality and ending oppression is going to happen either way in the future. Do you want to be one of the heroes of this story or do you want to be one of the villains. There are no bystanders. Privilege is a state of being. Some white ancestors created a system that benefits their descendants. State of Being. The awareness that must come with this is that privilege can be used however you like. It is influence. Social currency. Resources. Position. Power. A voice. Access. This should be owned. Acknowledged. You should not be shamed or feel shamed for being privileged. What is shameful is not to acknowledge the full power of it. Privilege means that you have the ability to change lives without sacrificing anything of value. You sacrifice being wrong. Evolution is spurred by mistakes. You may affect people's opinions about you. But your privilege will be largely untouched. If White people want oppression to end, it ends. That's real power. I know it's hard to believe that you have that kind of power, but yes it's you. It's this generation that can actually deliver a death blow to racism and oppression. It seems too big to even start but that is how powerful you are and not standing in your full power is only prolonging the misery of others. Repairing the past is the heroic invitation you have been given in this generation. What better way to prove your mindfulness, wellness, your spirituality and your conscious expansion is working than to dismantle a system your ancestors created that causes so much needless suffering, fear and death for others? What better way could one exhibit transcendent strength, love, truth, compassion and endurance. The nature of spirituality is beyond your comfort zone. What better metric of spiritual success is there than for my white family to use their power to alleviate the suffering of other Americans? Positive privilege. It's actionable. There are deliverables."

I'm ready to deliver. How about you? Donate to EJI, watch 13th, post about it. Drop your guilt and hopelessness, they do no one any good. Start the journey to real change, real healing.

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