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How We Show Up Matters

Some Reflections on #BlackLivesMatter and Living Our Values Out Loud

Whether you've been in the struggle for years or are just waking up to the injustices built into our society; we have likely all been deeply affected by what is going on in Minneapolis and in cities around the country. While the weight and trauma of the continued violence against Black lives disproportionately affects our Black brothers and sisters, the pain reverberates and is felt by all.

So now what? How do we respond? We are living in a profound historical moment, and many of us are wondering what to do? How do we show up?

This is the time to live our values out loud...

There are many ways to live our values. We can march. We can care for children so that others can march. We can organize. We can write. We can read. We can sing. We can donate. We can lead. We can follow. We can pray. We can listen. But we must act, for inaction is a form of action.

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Some of the ways I am showing up...

I am checking in with my Black friends and family without any expectation of a response. I do this because I recognize that what is happening right now (and has been happening for generations) is horrendous, unacceptable, and likely impacting them more profoundly than I will ever understand. And because I love them.

I am talking to my 19-month-old multiracial daughter about the pain and suffering our country is experiencing. I do this because she will inherit this world, and she deserves to know the truth about our fight for the dream.

I am purposefully engaging my social class and light-skinned privilege by donating money, time, food, and first-aid supplies to Black-led organizations supporting the communities most impacted. I do this because I have the purchasing power to do so, and the privilege to be able to drive across a city under fire without fear of getting pulled over, harassed, or murdered because of my race. I do this to invest my money where my mouth and heart is.

I am consciously situating current events in the context of systemic racism, anti-Blackness, and white supremacy. I am holding myself, my family, and my community accountable to the harsh and horrific reality that Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd's murders were not isolated incidents, but rather public and deadly examples of our country's long history of racial injustice.

I do this because their liberation is directly connected to my liberation.

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There isn't one “right way” to respond, to be affected, or to show up. Whatever it looks like for each of us, we must be vulnerable and do that authentically.

Let us not post on social media because we feel like we "should" or pray because we "don’t know what else to do." Let us start with ourselves. Let us acknowledge that we all have implicit biases to unlearn, learning edges to learn into, and healing to pursue. Let us commit to critically examining our own privilege and dominance and let us take action to dismantling systems of oppression. Let us speak up against injustice; even if we stumble through our words. Let us get involved, because this is a movement that impacts everyone. Let us have the humility to ask if we don't know, and the courage to be open to the accountability offered. Let us engage our own discomfort; paying attention to our embodied emotions (like when we feel our stomach drop or our face begin to flush). Let us listen empathetically and speak honestly with one another. Let us start with self-work. Let us share stories. Demand justice. Pursue peace. And engage in the process of healing and liberation.

I'd love to hear from you. How are you showing up? What are you doing to live your values out loud?

In solidarity,


Photo credits: Mike Von.