Eyes Wide Open

A phrase I keep hearing over and over again is that we are living in unprecedented times. This is usually in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic. I don’t think I quite understand how people believe a pandemic is unprecedented. There have been pandemics before. This is not the first, and dare I say it probably won’t be the last. In fact the only unprecedented part is that never before in history have we been so knowledgeable and prepared to fight against such an outbreak on the scale that we now can. The medicine available and the minds at work and the speed with which we can share and spread information at this time of history is unprecedented.

Amidst this outbreak that has gripped the world for months, the thing that is breaking through the countless updates on death tolls due to the virus is one death due to hate; or perhaps ignorance. But what is still raging under the surface of society are the racial injustices still happening in our country. The hate and prejudice that lingers is unfortunately not unprecedented. It is all too familiar and too often it is seen and then ignored. As a middle-class white woman I have not endured this injustice in my own life. I rarely see it, other than in the news. And I personally know few who have faced it, at least to my knowledge.

The horrible death of George Floyd and the protests that have ensued has me pondering this injustice and has raised a heightened awareness to it. Due to the privilege I was born into as a white person, I’m ashamed to admit that prior to this, racism was not much on my radar.

It is an ugly thing that I’d rather not look at; and my skin color has largely allowed me to avoid seeing it.

But I think we must see it. We must not allow it to hide in shadows. We must shine light into the darkness of condemning others based solely on how they look. How will it ever improve if we don’t?

I find that I have these thoughts stirring in my mind and a desire in my soul to help in some way; but feeling at a loss for how. My only conclusion at this point is that continuing on with daily life, updating you with photos of my most recent projects and sharing an excitement for something normal feels insubstantial. At the very least I want to make space and recognize that there is injustice happening around us and I do not agree with it. I stand with my neighbors, of all color, to say that I strive for a better and more just normal. I see what is happening and call it what it is: a corruption of our system, a failing of accountability to uphold justice equally. If you are also looking for a tangible way to offer your voice and your actions in solidarity with those being personally affected by this injustice, I am launching a shirt campaign with Bonfire to encourage us all to open our eyes. This is a very small gesture to offer our voice in the fight against racism.

Shirts will be available for purchase for a limited time. All profits from this campaign are going directly to the Center for Community Justice in Elkhart, Indiana to help them as they continue the good work they do towards restorative justice.

“Center for Community Justice responds to crime and conflict by

focusing on personal responsibility and accountability. Offenders

face the people they’ve harmed and take steps to make it right.”

Check out more about their mission here.

May we all open our eyes a little wider so that we may extend our hands a little further.

Lauren