Angelo here. It's exceedingly rare that I speak as the "voice" of Brewpoint. I'm not much one for the spotlight and it's incredibly important that Melissa is able to be the face of the company as a woman of color. But that's exactly why I'm speaking today. I can't heap the burden of tackling the events of the past week on my partner, a woman of color. That said, it's difficult to even begin writing this. Difficult to find the words that appropriately respond to the realities of our culture, society and world.
While both Melissa and I are minorities (Asian Pacific Islander and Latinx) it would be disrespectful and destructive for either of us to claim an intimate, personal understanding of the Black experience. While it is easier to speak from experience, about what we have experienced, the demonstrations of the past week are not about us. The protests are about recognizing and empathizing with the trauma inflicted on the Black community in this country and working to undo the damage of generations of abuse, it is about amplifying their voices and demands and it's about committing to stand beside them to make a better safer world for them.
As individuals and leaders, we recognize and support the protests responding to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and the countless other Black lives taken over the course of this nations short history. The consistency and scale of pain and injustice that the Black community has endured is immeasurable. The generational trauma and loss is astounding. And the response across the nation to this latest cry for acknowledgement, justice and accountability has been lacking at best.
The truth is that racism is a cornerstone of our society. Foundational to our culture and history in the United State. This fact is not up for debate.
Racism is not limited to overt physical violence and verbal abuse. It lives and moves. It adapts and transforms. It camouflages itself as normalcy, politeness and culture. It lives in how easy it is to get to the grocery store, in how your school is funded, in how seriously doctors take your concerns, in what is beautiful and what is ugly, in what is and is not polite, in what we do and don't eat, and on and on it goes. Racism is deeply intertwined with our daily lives. Our choices, our expectations, our thoughts and words.
Because of this we are either racist or antiracist. There is no middle ground. To insist on standing somewhere in between is to insist on stability, normality and predictability. And when the status quo does so much harm, standing still results in complicity.
In the meantime, the people that are most at risk are doing the most to fix the problem.
White people, we should be doing the most to address the oppression, inequality and violence that is baked into our systems. We have the broadest access to and benefit the most from the status quo regardless of their individual attitudes towards race. This DOES NOT dismiss or negate the individual suffering, oppression or trauma we might experience. Instead our society is built to recognize the humanity, trustworthiness and baseline value of us as individuals regardless of any other undesirable traits or misfortunes. This is why we should be actively seeking how they can best support Black communities and protect Black lives.
We need to ask ourselves: What are we doing to ensure our community is working towards equity for Black people? What are we doing to make sure we are more attentive to, sensitive to and responsive to the concerns of our Black neighbors? We should be aspiring to make ourselves and Elmhurst exemplary. And that means committing to doing the work. That means owning that there's more to do. That we can do better. "Elmhurst is for everyone" is not just a flowery statement. It is hard work, but we are capable of it.
Signs by Elmhurst Pride Collective