The cool November wind touches me, whipping the cigarette smoke around me. Inside, like in so many other rooms, a bird is sacrificed to a legend of cooperation.
There is no way to make things better now. There is no “fix” for a situation centuries old. No way to right the wrongs done to other humans whose skin happened to be a different color than ours.
We cannot undo things done long ago.
I used to ask why I was responsible for things I – and even my ancestors – had not themselves done.
It was the wrong question.
The question is “What are you going to do about it now?”. There is a simple answer to that.
We can work to make tomorrow better than today.
This is our responsibility. To cede power whenever possible. To let others be heard, even if their words make us feel uneasy. To speak up against oppression and intolerance, no matter how small.
To do these things without wanting or expecting a reward. There will be no kudos, no compliments, save one.
We will know that we are more human than before.
This is our burden.
This is my burden.
And as I put out the cigarette and step back inside, I am thankful for it.
As you digest your food this year, I urge you to take a look at this post from Resist Racism. Maybe, with your help, all of us can be a little more thankful next year.