Some folks may not quite understand why the stakes are so high for me and those I love.
I am aware of my privileges:
I am educated. I attended a private boarding school and a private university where I earned both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree.
I am a U.S-born person whose 1st language is English.
I am a cis-gendered heterosexual.
I am married.
I do not live with a disability.
I also embody a space where the targeted and marginalized aspects of my identity make me vulnerable to practices, policies, and dominant cultural beliefs that have denied or would attempt to block my humanity as well as my civil rights:
I am a Black Woman.
I am the daughter of an immigrant.
My father is from Trinidad. His family has roots throughout the Caribbean.
The great-granddaughter of immigrants.
My maternal great-grandparents were Canadian.
The great-great granddaughter of an immigrant.
My maternal great-great grandmother was a German Jew who married a former slave and Civil War veteran.*
I am the mother of a bi-racial, multi-ethnic child.
I am the wife of a man who has a disability.
We live on a fixed income.
I am a Buddhist.
I am committed to the path of compassion and liberation for myself and others.
I come from generations of women who have held positions of service in the social work, education, and public health fields.
It’s in my DNA to give a damn.
I know and love people who are targeted and vulnerable.
I know and love people who know and love people who are targeted and vulnerable:
Immigrants, non-native English speakers, lesbian, gay, same-gender loving, transgender, gender non-conforming, elderly, poor, uneducated, disabled, Muslim, Jewish, of other non-JudeoChristian faiths, atheist, agnostic and more…
I have every reason to be mad and every reason to wish to protect myself and those I love from harm! I am committed to social justice, equity, and reconciliation. It takes emboldened truth-telling. Even as I uphold the criteria for skillful communication, I will not be silent or soft to make anyone feel more comfortable.
*For the curious or surprised, I offer two insights:
The family history I compiled and the regional ancestry results of my genographic test, which my reflect a genetic composition that is 65% Sub-Saharan African, 13% Mediterranean, 12% North European, 5% South African, 5% Southwest Asian.
I share these results not to diminish my Blackness but to illustrate interdependence and just how bound to one another we are.
A Few Places To Start: