Friday, December 5, 2014
I am not posting this on social media.
I will alienate people, lose friends and basically have people try to shame me with whatever new statistic they've read on whatever newsfeed they subscribe to.
But I am your mother, and since we all know that this blog has basically turned into my journal to the three of you, I have to say it. Because, if there is one thing I hope you do, it's that you speak up for what you think is right, instead of constantly bitching about what you think is wrong.
Our country is suffering right now. People are at odds with each other. Racial tensions are high. People are hurting. There are riots, protests, nightly discussions, arguments on twitter, Facebook - you name it. People have been lying down on highways, setting police cars on fire, protesting, demonstrating, trying to get their point across.
Here's my point:
ALL lives matter - make yours matter.
Tomorrow in the city in which you live - in a very privileged section I might add - this will happen:
In protest of the "not guilty" verdict handed down to the officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, hundreds of people will lay down for 4 and a half minutes. Four and a half hours is how long Michael lay in the street after being shot.
People will protest for four and a half minutes.
Four and a half minutes of doing nothing.
So this kid in Missouri dies, and after showering in a dorm that is cleaned daily by a maid, putting on a Land's End Jacket, and grabbing a quick burrito or latte, these people are going to LAY THERE AND DO NOTHING. They will tell you it's to raise awareness - that laying around in a public space on a Saturday morning will call attention to the problem.
There has been plenty of "attention" called to it. How about DOING something?
Let's be conservative and say that across the country 1000 people lay down for 4 and a half minutes. That's 4,500 minutes. Seventy-five hours. A little over three days - and that's if you don't sleep. It's roughly the equivalent of a full work week.
If you're curious about what could possibly be done in just four minutes, let me give you a few ideas:
* Go online and donate to a school in Ferguson, MO. They could use it.
* Write an email to your senator.
* Send a note of thanks to one of the thousands police officers who do jobs most of us are too scared to do.
* Hold the door open for somebody who needs it.
* Help an old person load their groceries.
* Refresh your CPR skills on youtube - figure out how to help save a life.
* Post your iPod, iPad, laptop, Ug boots on eBay and use the money to send an underprivileged kid to dance class or soccer camp.
And in case you're wondering what could be done in three days:
* A habitat house can be built in three days.
* A new park can be put up in an area that desperately needs it.
* Nine meals could be cooked and served to people who have no other means of sustenance.
* You could apply to the police academy. Don't bitch about how somebody else does a job if you aren't willing to help. If you think there's a problem, become one of the "good cops".
* You could volunteer with your friends to patrol streets that might need extra help - be a watchdog.
* With 75 hours you could tutor a kid for an hour a week for a year and a half.
* You could help repair a building that needs it.
* You could organize a talent show, basketball tournament, dance-off in a neighborhood that needs uplifting.
And if we were really giving this poor kid his due - how about we all volunteer for 4 and a half hours. Can you IMAGINE the good that could come if every single person who was complaining or arguing right now, volunteered for four and a half hours?!
Let me be very clear about this - I am not against peaceful protest. I AM against jumping on a bandwagon that you know little to nothing about, and then exacerbating bad mojo by merely following the crowd without any heart put into it. Hell, if you think that by laying on the floor of a $50,000-a-year college cafeteria, contemplating life's atrocities for 270 seconds, you're going to make this world better, then I support your idealism.
But am also here to tell you that this: You weren't there. You weren't on the street that day. You weren't on the jury. You aren't there now. You do not know what happened. Nobody does - that's the problem. There are three sides to every story - always.
I do know this: You are here. You have skills. You have heart. You have the ability to fill the world with love and good. You also have the ability to perpetuate fear and loathing and hate mongering.
I hope that never happens.
I hope I never find you laying down.
I hope that when you see a need, you stand up.
I hope you do something good.