Once again, the heavy weight of the world feels like it is impeding my ability to speak out, at least here in this space where I tend towards lightness. I have been quiet because the lightness I would ordinarily post feels frivolous in contrast to the overwhelming importance of current events. But having a choice about whether to stay silent in these times is a mark of my privilege. My voice is not impeded by anything or anyone but my own self and my own fears. So I will speak out.
The post title is in homage to Colin Kaepernick, who gained notoriety and blacklisting from the NFL for his powerful protest of police brutality and racial injustice, by kneeling during the national anthem in 2017. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the expression “take a knee,” it refers to the act of kneeling in respect, and is an act made to show solidarity for someone injured on the playing field. I’ve been moved in recent weeks to see that more and more white people now appear better able to hear the meaning of that silent and powerful protest.
It has been amazing to see the many thousands of protests that have been held across this country, in big cities and small towns, in support of Black lives. For the record, I support the protests that have been going on in recent weeks in response the recent horrible murders by police of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black lives senselessly lost to violence. These are but the most recent in the long and brutal history of this country, where enforcement of the law is deeply unequal and shaped by pervasive white supremacy. I continue to grieve for the stolen life of Tamir Rice, who was only 12 when he was killed by police. And for so, so many others whose names I still must learn. Each person loved and valued. Each person’s loss deeply felt by family and friends. Each life cut short, each well of boundless potential senselessly drained.
There is always more to be done to fight for a more just society, so writing this small bit here feels too small. But I’m convinced that it is far worse to say nothing. I will strive to speak out more, do more, amplify more Black voices, and give more to organizations who are fighting the fight.
The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) formed in December of 2014, was created as a space for Black organizations across the country to debate and discuss the current political conditions, develop shared assessments of what political interventions were necessary in order to achieve key policy, cultural and political wins, convene organizational leadership in order to debate and co-create a shared movement wide strategy. Under the fundamental idea that we can achieve more together than we can separately.