People: A Reflection and Call to Action on Social Injustice

May 28, 2020

We learn how to help others exercise. We study the physiology of breathing. We practice checking vitals. We renew our CPR certifications annually. We value people and their lives.

Ahmaud was just running. George was merely trying to breathe. Breonna was getting the sleep that we say is so important.

We cannot be silent on a glaring barrier – one that prevents people of color from enjoying these basic human rights. Our knowledge and skills are only as powerful as our ability to use them for all people.

Men and women serving others represents one of our core values at Regis University. Within this value we claim to be “encouraged to pursue justice on behalf of all persons.” We are, and have been for a long time, at the point where justice is necessary; the system itself needs fixed. This is not about us though. Human lives are collateral damage in this inferno of ignorance and hate. The fire was lit long ago by a world that decided skin color decided your literal worth. Some continue to feed the fire. Some cook with the fire and bask in it’s heat, blatantly benefiting from the systematic racism in America. Some watch it burn and do nothing. I encourage us to be raindrops. Let us use our voices and seek out resources to, together, create the perfect storm and ultimately put out this fire. I do not want to minimize the severity of this situation;  I realize the solution is not that simple. I also want to acknowledge my own privilege as a white woman who does indeed benefit from the current system. However, I believe by acting on our values we can contribute to change.

Today I share my classmates’ words, thoughts, and feelings. To be completely transparent, this was a reflection originally centered around the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. Unfortunately somehow that is too small. The unjustified loss of an entire human life, a mother’s whole world, is too small because in the weeks that we compiled this post multiple other egregious acts have occurred that are burning too bright to ignore (and these cases are only what has gone viral.) Please refer to the end for specific ways you can be a raindrop right now. This does not end here; this post is the pilot of a new diversity and inclusion tab on our blog which we aim to update monthly.

When asked to reflect, these words rang the loudest in our program. These are taken straight from the most frequent words used within our reflections…

wordcloud for blog

One classmate shared a poem he wrote…

I can leave my house at any hour without fear

Because I’m a white man

I’ve never had to worry about where I go

Because I’m a white man

I’ve never been scared to exercise on my own 

Because I’m a white man

My mom has never wondered if I’d come home from a run

Because I’m a white man

I’ve never been seen as a threat

Because I’m a white man

Whatever I do can be forgiven 

Because I’m a white man

I have the privilege to live without fear or consequences 

Because I’m a white man

I’ve never been held responsible

Because I’m a white man

I can deny that racism exists

Because I’m a white man

They chose to gun him down

Because he was a black man

I can ignore the truths that stand before me

Because I’m a white man

But I won’t

-Conner Weeth, Class of 2022

And finally, a call to action from our Diversity Committee Chairs, Peter Lee and Shivan Mcdonald and their diversity committees who have encouraged this movement within our program.

In her book, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Author Austin Channing Brown recalls her classmate’s reflection upon learning the history of lynching in the South: 

“I don’t know what to do with what I’ve learned. I can’t fix your pain, and I can’t take it away, but I can see it. And I can work for the rest of my life to make sure your children don’t have to experience the pain of racism. Doing nothing is no longer an option for me.”

We believe you will find this common sentiment from our program: this is bigger than us, doing nothing is not an option. 

We encourage continuous education and action. These are not the only injustices that occur in the world we live in today. These things will keep happening and it’s up to us to be aware, vulnerable, and educated. However, the following are resources you can use now for these specific cases.

  • Call Georgia Governors office at 770-800-0689 and demand justice for Ahmaud.
  • Visit justiceforbreonna.org for resources.
  • Call Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey at 612-673-2100 and the DA at 612-348-5550 for action regarding the George Floyd.

We are all people; let’s be kind to one another and lean on each other.

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