Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
By Cyndi Prince
How are you going to make a difference?
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and the protesting that ensued, many are asking themselves this question. We want change within our society—not just in law enforcement but also in our own communities, whether we live in a rural enclave or a large city.
The truth is racism exists. In every culture, in every town. You don’t need to be black to empathize with the longstanding injustices that continue to plague millions. But you do have to be aware. You have to want to understand the issues so that society can move forward. When you don’t care to understand, that’s when ignorance prevents true change from occurring.
I have a heightened sensitivity knowing that we are raising a black son. Yes, we live in a bubble in midcoast Maine but our son will eventually start to explore the world. I fear the burden of being a young black man in this world. He will be viewed as different because of the color of his skin. He’ll have to be mindful of what he says and does so that his actions are not seen as a threat.
We cannot wish for social injustice to simply go away. The surfacing of anger in the last few weeks has shown us that. But we can change the way we think and how our children view others and serve as examples to those around us. Certainly, a good education begins at home.
Educate Yourself:Media plays a large part in how many view the world. The images we see in the news and the characters depicted in movies can largely shape an unfair view of minorities. Look beyond the stereotypes to understand the true essence of equality.
Talk to Your Children:Teach them to celebrate the differences of humanity. Read books featuring diverse characters. Learn about black history. Have a conversation about race and what is happening in our society right now. Children are never too young to understand injustice.
Contact Lawmakers:Protesters have taken to the streets. Their voices have been heard. Now it’s time for lawmakers to enact change and their job is to address their constituents. Attend city council meetings, listen to anti-racism podcasts and read books, write your local congressional representatives urging reform. Prosecutors cannot help convict individuals protected by the law until those laws are changed.
Cyndi Prince is the proprietress of LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls based in Maine and a proud fitness instructor at her local YMCA. She is honored to serve in this leadership role and to help keep her community strong and healthy.
Anti-Racism Resources for Families
“All American Boys” by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds
“Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice” by Veronica Chambers
The Hate U Give
John Lewis: Good Trouble
PodcastsBrains On - Injustice and Anger: Understanding Your Emotions