The other morning I wake up for my morning run. Eyes crusty, body achey. I suit up in my light up gear. It’s dark out, which has now become my happy, alone time while the birds chirp and the neighborhood sprinklers are going.
I am running as the sun comes up. A young, white man run past me at a very fast pace. He startles me with his rapid pace. He is not ill intended, but simply runs so fast I barely register it. I wave. I always wave when I pass someone on my run. He doesn’t wave back because he’s too fast and doesn’t see me. I’m safe and it is okay. I feel safe again in my neighborhood. I continue.
I continue another mile down the road. I see another runner on the road at the corner I’m approaching. I wonder if he feels safe. Not because of age or pace, but because he is black. Social media is flooded this week with stories of racism, murder and hate. I do my usual runner’s wave but he turns to go the the opposite direction and doesn’t see it. Why is it that when I see a white man I don’t worry if he feels safe, but when I see a black man I pray he feels safe? This thought makes me sad and is one I didn’t know I would be struck with at 5:30 am. A reflection on society. As the female runner I am used to questioning if I feel safe. How devastating that I wonder for this man if he does too. I realize it doesn’t matter what hour of the morning it is. I have no right to turn these questions on and off in my brain. If I want to be better and promote change I don’t stop thinking about these things simply because it’s early. This is another tough conversation to have with myself. Racism doesn’t have business hours. I have had friends express their experiences, worries about their children and sleepless nights at all hours.
I have no real point to this. I am starting hard conversations. I want a better world. I seek change. I have asked so many how I can be better and do better. I am starting by talking about things. I am reading. I am watching. I am confused by it all, but that means that I am thinking about things.
I have had tough conversations with myself lately.
- In what ways have I been wrong in the past? How can I change that?
- In what ways am I like the people I disagree with? How can I change that?
- Am I more willing to say the wrong thing but start a conversation so I can learn more and be better than I am than I am willing to stay quiet?
I don’t know how to end this writing today. I am learning and want to be a better voice for change. I’m here, and not in a passive way. I’m here for the first time with the intention to actively be here. Not passively. I hear you and I see you and I stand with you. #BlackLivesMatter