“Oh,” she said. “So it’s not ONLY Black Lives Matter. It’s Black Lives Matter, TOO.”
She got it.
Since then, we have had many conversations about how Black lives were not simply forgotten over time but have been—and still are—oppressed, manipulated, and hurt by policies and people (whether they mean to or not). We have read books about how living in a Black body is a different experience than living in a white body. We have read about Black heroes who have made a difference for all Americans.
I am hopeful that my children—that all children—will grow up thinking about race differently than I did. This hope is the premise for my Installation Ingathering project to spread books on justice throughout Coronado’s Little Free Libraries. Because when I was growing up, being “colorblind” was a thing—a “good” thing. But wow, in retrospect, how hurtful to decide to be blind to the cause of so many iniquities.
Collectively, we must invest the time and energy to heal, repair, and reconcile the multitude of wounds inflicted on our Black siblings. Healing relationships and creating equity and justice will actually benefit everyone. One place to start is to recognize that Black history is all of our history. It should not be only a month—it should be a movement of reclaiming the stories of all people in our great nation.
Once we understand our history, we begin to understand how this country benefitted from the slave labor that constructed federal buildings and universities and whose financial gains paid for so many things. And we begin to understand the generational disadvantage of Black families. How injustice and trauma inflicted just a few generations ago—not to mention ongoing, current inequity and injustice—can affect a family’s well-being right now.