DIGGING DEEPER INTO THE WHY I AM AN ANTIRACIST

So, as I jump off a cliff, into the great unknown of life changing career moves, I’m reminded of the fact that, I am not someone who rolls with status quo very easily. I tend to forge a new path, rather than follow ones already trodden on. Its true both literally and figuratively. I think it has generally served me well and the truth is, it is the only way I know how to do things. I’m constantly butting up against my inability to assimilate and my unwillingness to be held accountable for not assimilating.

As I take the first few steps into the new adventure I am embarking on, I find myself oddly stymied by my lack of clarity as I attempt to put it into words. Basically, I’m leaning into creating a livelihood where I get to invite and inspire folks to embrace anti-racism as a way of being. I am committed to changing hearts and minds by demystifying collective liberation.

I’m getting confronted by the dig-deeper questions required to make this so and I just needed to share that here, as I continue to lean into it all. White supremacy insists we stick to the surface and requires us NOT to look any closer. It keeps us all separate and alone so it can isolate us, like an abuser. I need to remind myself on a regular basis WHY I am committed to dismantling it in myself and others. Honestly, this work is 100% personal to me. I grew up believing in equity and compassion, yet, when my eyes were finally opened to who is afforded both by our larger society, I was horrified and even more upset to learn how I’ve helped contribute to that reality.

Its created in me a sense of extreme responsibility, nay, an OBLIGATION to reach out and implore others to join me. That abuser is always rearing their ugly head and the only way to stay the course is to remind me that I truly have no choice. There is a profound calling here that matters to the health of our nation, spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. Its a daunting task, because, unless those of us who grew up not being aware of the disparities and lack of equity of others who don’t look like us experience, we tend to look the other way, thinking its not about us. And yet, I dare say, its completely about us!

My life is nothing if not vibrant and passionate and in constant evolution. I’ve been honored to share much of my life with my BIPOC friends and family. It would be much less satisfying if I had not chosen to live in NYC where diversity is the norm. It doesn’t mean I know everything. I know just enough to know how little I know and yet, it tends to be exponentionally more than most European Americans when it comes to racial justice or privilege or how who we have been allowed and trained to be, is harmful to so many others. Its not even our fault, yet, that fact does not absolve us of our complicity. I don’t say this to say I am better than, I have just chosen to embrace it all and educate myself with workshops and books and in constant and deep relationship with both BIPOC and antiracist white folks who have been doing this work longer and more intensely than I have.

My son’s father is Venezuelan so, I have been the “white” mama of a Latino boy, who is now a young man of almost 24 years. I am married to a beautiful Jamairican who has 3 children, all adults now, as well as a teen granddaughter (that pic is of our wedding and all of us!); not to mention his siblings and nephews. They all hail from an amazingly accomplished family in New York City where their parents/grandparents were Black lawyers in Harlem. This is the family I live with, love with, fight with, cry with, and will die with, goddess willing. I am not ok with their lives not mattering to you. I am not ok with their accomplishments being diminished by you and white supremacy ideology. I am not ok with their lives being endangered by you.

And by you, I mean the collective, royal, “You” which includes me as I walk with the colonizers blood and DNA on stolen land. How can those of us who share that same DNA with monsters who transformed this beautiful continent called Turtle Island into the devisive, hateful place it has become, be the change that is desperately needed at this exact moment in time? Are we going to acknowledge our wrong doings, holding ourselves and one another accountable? Accountably creating a world where there is NO disparity between white and BIPOC regarding access to opportunities, education, medical care, safety, happiness, etc. You name it, there’s a disparity that is strictly down racial lines. The fact as to whether George Floyd was murdered or not has been disputed by a majority of white folks polled, which is very troubling to me.

So, dear ones, where do we go from here? How to we compel one another to connect to our shared humanity, not just the ones intimately involved with BIPOC, but ALL of us? THAT is what keeps me up at night and exactly what I am asking the Universe to reveal to me as I continue this journey. May it be so.

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Lisa Bailey

Lisa Bailey

As an anti-racist activist from Montana, I take seriously my job as a woman of Northern European descent to dismantle white supremacy. How about you?