Our March newsletter was not mailed when our schools shutdown. We were in a different mode at that time. The LABBB logo for March is a clover and it is symbolic of an analogy we have been speaking about in LABBB about change.
There are many questions that arise at a time like this...
How much did we fall behind, did we move ahead in any way, did we get stronger, weaker, more anxious?
Did we become a closer community facing a pandemic together?
Do we need to repair, fix and refurbish?
How will we heal from this?
What about trauma and mental health and educating our community on race and social injustice so we become a better world?
Dan Harris stated that we have not seen the peak of anxiety. That will come when we return to normal, so we better be prepared to help everyone through this.
How do we prepare? We believe a strong community that supports one another heals the quickest.
I spoke to the LABBB staff in one of my many video messages to them in the midst of the protests. I was searching, I was reflecting, struggling, I was trying to learn as much as I could, trying to find some answers and a response.
The analogy I used was my war on the clovers in my yard over the past two years. It was a process of dealing with the present and hoping there would be a more significant impact on the future. Quick fixes never work, but sometimes I learned the hard way?
When my yard was infested with clovers, my wife said to me, "our lawn is turning into a mess, all the clovers are taking over the grass." I take pride in how our yard looks, but I let it go for a while, I just wasn't paying attention.
My work to fix the problem started by incessantly pulling clovers by hand, almost in a frenzy as the clover flowers starting to show their white heads. I pulled them from the tops thinking I was pulling up the roots. I did this for weeks. Nothing was accomplished, they just grew back.
My next action to make a more significant impact was to purchase a thatching rake. It was better but there were times when my back stiffened up to the point I couldn't even walk some days because of my aggressive raking. My wife just looked at me outside and knew that I was in a war. She pleaded with me to get someone to help, but I refused.
A question could be posed, and believe me I heard it, "Why don't you just do what everyone else does? Didn't you see all the companies spraying our neighbors' yards to kill the weeds last week, it took them 10 minutes. They are all using the same company, maybe you can get a discount. No thinking, no back breaking work, no worries...
Unfortunately, the clovers continued to slowly grow back, but I did make some progress. At one point, I was exhausted, but didn't want to stop working. I could only rake lightly now, but surprisingly, I noticed something. When I raked lightly, the roots of the clovers would pop up. I never noticed this before, I never even knew what the roots looked like. The roots are on the surface of the soil and they are thick and strong. The root vines are spread out throughout my lawn. I thought about this in a strategic way. I pictured my lawn as it might be viewed if I could only see the roots. I realized my job was bigger than I thought.
Raking lightly and slowly was a technique. When the roots popped up, I stopped and pulled them by hand. I grabbed as low as possible on the root and slowly pulled the long threads of vines. It wasn't back breaking work anymore. Now it was a slow process where I had to be mindful to look for the root popping up. It was actually satisfying pulling those roots because I imagined my lawn healing.
The clovers never came back in the areas where I pulled out the roots. This work was having an impact. It would effect change, but it would take a year and a half to accomplish.
How I approached clover extrication took longer than it should have. My back was in pain, my mind was not settled. I didn't have a good system and I suffered until I did. Sure, chemicals may have worked, but I would have never understood how clovers grow, how they return, what they thrive on, or how strong their roots are.
I was told that clovers were almost impossible to get rid of, but extricating them in the right way, at the right time, was the right action.
If we are going to heal and make effective change, we need to find the right actions and define our role in eliminating systematic racism, and this we will do as a community.