I am deeply saddened, disturbed and frustrated. I feel a sense of hopelessness that I can't describe.
The horrific, inexcusable actions of four cops caught on video in Minnesota resulting in the death of George Floyd last week, all the events that have followed, every other abuse of power, police brutality and systematic inequality and failures in this country for so many years, and the lack of accountability, contribute to those feelings in me right now. It hurts me to see the situation we are in currently and not being able to change anything about it.
I want a future with a better country and a better humanity for my kids and for everyone's kids, regardless of the color of their skin or origin.
I don't need to have a great deal of knowledge in history or be an expert on how societies should function to understand that too much of what we see is fundamentally wrong; even if we, the lucky ones living in a nice bubble, never directly experience or are affected by it.
Those of us who are anti-racist and against discrimination of all kinds, have agreed for decades that things must change, yet, many forms of abuses continue to occur all across this country way too often. If it wasn't for video, we would never hear about them in most instances.
Change must come, but change won't occur by itself, nor will it be brought by the so-called leaders, many of whom really don't care about average people and tend to favor special interests one way or another.
The change must come from us, ALL OF US who want a more fair and peaceful country and humanity. A world with less disparities, less poverty and more dignity, respect and opportunities for EVERYONE.
I know that this last sentence is a broken song, a canned message that we hear every time something horrific happens. But here are my thoughts on how we need to start making that change we desperately need, deserve, and want...
- Register to vote. If you are like me some years ago, you dislike politicians and often disregard the power of voting, please reconsider. It is not a perfect, ideal process in my opinion, but it is what we got, and we need to make it count the best possible way. As part of this, make sure you donate to the candidate of our choice. I hate seeing money in politics, but again, that's how that stuff works and the people seeking your vote need funds.
Start at the most basic level, your local/municipal elections for school boards, counselors, etc. Things need to change at all levels if we want to fix the rotten core of many systems.
- VOTE. DON'T FORGET TO VOTE. Do not take this for granted. I have learned the importance of this at all levels, not just voting for the president, which many people think is enough. Real changes come from all levels and in many circumstances a lot of improvements can be done at the municipal, city and state levels.
- Contact your elected officials. Again, at all levels. Make sure they hear your voice; it isn't enough to just vote for people you like and put them in power; you must be aware of what legislation, reforms and other stuff they are working on and make sure they know your position on things. Emails and phone calls are simple, powerful ways of communicating with them.
- Peacefully March. If you have the opportunity, join peaceful marches and demonstrate that we want change.
- Donate to causes that reflect your beliefs. If you have the opportunity, consider donating a few bucks to organizations that defend what you align with.
- Be an Anti-Racist. If you are truly NOT racist, you cannot just be passive about racism. You must take a stand when you hear or see a racist act, otherwise you are complicit.
- Advocate & Educate. Nelson Mandela said "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his/her skin, or his/her background of his/her religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love" If you believe in this, be an advocate and emphasize it everywhere possible, starting in your family and communities.
Enable to fully comprehend why in this day and age we still see the level of hatred, discrimination and disregard for human beings, demoralized that there are so many who have suffered for generations and substantial improvements take so long or aren't enough. I refuse to believe that if in fact the good people are more, why couldn't we achieve the change? It will take ALL OF US, it will take determination and commitment to stick to the actions that will shape the policies, rules, laws, etc.
Why couldn't we in the active, generous, friendly, and welcoming tech community, one that gets behind folks to help them achieve certifications, find jobs, guide and assist in many ways; why couldn't we advocate for a better world? I think we can!
Please join me with ideas and spreading the word so we can plant the seeds that one day will give our kids a better human race.