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  • Writer's pictureEmily Conley Baker

Be the Change

As I sit here watching my children play my heart is so freaking heavy. It is heavy for the place I once called home. The image of a town that has such an enormous spot in my heart actively being destroyed. Businesses that I used to frequent and could tell you all about the owners and their families being boarded up for fear that their heart and soul could be ripped away from them in a matter of minutes. Mostly, it is heavy for those that I love that know the disparities of being a person of color all too well. These people have families, friends, homes, bills, they are everything I am, except their skin color automatically makes them different. Because of the skin color, they were born with their life is automatically more complex whether we want to acknowledge it or not. They were simply born having to worry about so much more than I do. They have to worry about their children, their friends, their loved ones who are also of the same {non-white} skin color. Why is that?!

Growing up in a small Midwestern town I would have told you that white privilege didn’t exist or that it was created or brought on by those that argued and proclaimed racial injustice. My view was quickly changed one July day when the world witnessed the horrific and tragic death of Philando Castile. Ironically, the death of Philando Castile happened in this same place that I once called home, the same place that has yet again tragically taken another beautiful life, George Floyd.

There are so many avenues that you could go down and cast blame when discussing social injustices but the reality is it has to stop with each one of us, regardless of our skin color. We have to acknowledge our past for what it is and be aware that social injustice is absolutely happening in today’s society. Once we can acknowledge our flaws we have to educate our children and our future generations of the value of everyone’s life regardless of skin color. Our children deserve a world where they, or their friends, can sit in their car minding their own business without being murdered at the hands, or should I say knee, of a uniformed man whom they are supposed to trust and count on.

Change starts with us, each and every one of us. As Gandhi stated, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

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