01 June 2020

Time to Regroup

June 1st - here we are, in the month that separates the first part of the year from the second part.  And this year, as months have blended into each other more weirdly than ever before, I think plenty of us have been thinking of June as somehow a bellweather of how we might be going forward.  Some places are slowly reopening, lots of places are seeing significant drops in new Covid-19 cases, and of course for many who are not me, it also means that the summer season is really getting started.  So it can also be a kind of mini-New Year, a chance to start fresh and maybe make it to the end of the year with better results.

Today in Philadelphia, it won't be that easy.  As you may or may not know, things exploded here over the weekend.  What started as a peaceful protest memorializing the police killing of George Floyd, turned into two days and nights of heavy duty destruction and violence.  Things are extremely tenuous right now.  The fires are either out or under control, but if the wind blows in a certain direction you can still smell smoke.  The helicopters are finally gone (at least for now - they kept coming and going all through Saturday and Sunday), and there are fewer siren sounds.  Curfew has been lifted for this morning.  The National Guard has arrived, and everyone is hoping that it will not be needed.

People have been injured, including some in law enforcement.  The property damage is considerable, and a couple of buildings that housed retail in Center City will have to be demolished because they were so damaged from fires, meaning that some people are also losing their office and/or living space.  After the cleanup, who knows what places will reopen or decide to rebuild?  Everything has already been closed and the future uncertain because of the pandemic, and I'm sure for some, this will be the point where the break comes.

It's been sad.  It's been scary.  It's been frustrating.  It's clear that serious and systemic change has to happen, though that's been clear for a long time.  But of course there are already people seeing only what they wanted to see, and saying that this proves that "those people" only want handouts or they resort to violence.  "Those people" of course meaning black Americans.  In spite of the fact that there were plenty of lily white people taking advantage of looting.  In spite of the fact that black Americans and other people of color have been facing disproportionate levels of income. healthcare, and pretty much everything else that is easily available and often not even realized by those of us who have pale skin.

I realized over the weekend that a bumper sticker that I've seen a lot over the years was actually a lot smarter than I'd ever realized.  Yes, a bumper sticker. 

When people are treated justly in all ways - legally, financially, socially, etc. - then we are saying that no one has to be like everyone else to lead the life they deserve.  The world will never ever be perfect, and none of us will ever be 100% happy, but if we are all treated with humanity and dignity and have the same opportunities, there are fewer reasons to look at things as being Us vs. Them for anyone in any situation.

So if you want to help the world and your community to regroup, and you want to feel like you are starting the second part of this year in a way that can only improve it, work for justice - however small, however local, let it start to ripple through the water of our world.  Unless we can all afford our own planet, we are here together.  And if you don't think that we all deserve dignity, kindness, and respect, then every single bit of this is on you.

It's June 1st - take a deep breath, regroup, and decide to move forward in the best way you can. 

And on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, make sure to vote so that our country will be able to regroup and move forward


Dee said...

Let's hope that the murder of George Floyd really is the tipping point. Let's hope that justice really does happen this time and that it is not just *words* like it has been in the past.

Nance said...

I'm reminded of the quote from To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus references the ill treatment of black people and says, "Don't fool yourselves--it's all adding up and one of these days we're going to pay the bill for it."

The fact that there were riots decades ago protesting racial inequality and police brutality shows that no one learned a single thing, that meaningful change did not really take place.

That we now have an incendiary bigot in the White House is giving this element bold license to openly practice their disgusting beliefs.

November cannot come soon enough.

Wanderingcatstudio said...

It's so sad to see. The anger is 100% justified, but the destruction, not so much. In some respects, I understand where its coming from, but it doesn't accomplish anything... it just makes a bad situation worse.
Stay safe.

Araignee said...

I am old enough for this all to be a terrible re-run. It is sad that we haven't learned a thing in all these years.

karen said...

I will definitely be voting! Stay safe and take care.

steph said...

So sorry your town has been devastated....like so many others. Even my little town of 25,000 had their 'peaceful protest' last night....and wouldn't you know, 20-30 people had to venture to the mall and start breaking windows. What is wrong with people? Do they think destruction will bring respect? Especially in our little corner of the midwest where we fortunately have not had any of the big issues larger cities experience. Yes. We have homeless. Yes. We have poverty. But there has always been a respectfulness of humanity that has cheered on our kids---whoever they are---with their sports achievements or their academic endeavors. Someone is down and out....there is usually a way the community steps up to help.
Sorry. I'm off my soap box. Yep. I'm voting in November. No doubt about it.

Mereknits said...

Well said Bridget. I have been thinking of you as I see video footage of the damage in Philadelphia. We have had damage here also, not to the same degree but several stores, a bank and such. It all starts peacefully and then things get out of hand. I am not for violence or damage of any kind but then again I sat in my safe home all weekend, safe from the protests, riots and the rage, who am I to say what should or should not happen. I cannot understand how we are in this place at this time, but I know the last three years have contributed to the violence, the bullying and the elitist attitude that is so prevalent out there. Stay safe my friend and yes lots and lots of white people were looting, let us never be fooled by that.

Deb said...

Well said. My heart is so heavy. I just want there to be hope of a better world. Working towards Justice is a start. Stay safe there

Kym said...

Thank you for speaking up and out, Bridget. I've been thinking of you in Philadelphia, and I'm glad to hear you're . . . hanging in there. I'm sad and I'm tired and I'm trying to figure out all the things I CAN do to help promote justice and peace. These are dumpster fire times . . . and I hope they bring REAL change. XO

Minerva said...

My hope is that more people think like you do. Change has got to come, for the sake of all of us.