This moment in history – this year – is one that will shape our lives, our children’s lives and our grandchildren’s lives.
How we act now will determine that outcome.
Finally, after a lifetime of seeing my fellow privileged friends growing up during a time of plenty, of ample comfort and opportunity for us, I believe there is a chance now that we are finally awake to the extreme discomfort of so many others in this country.
But how? Why now? Why are so many of us, otherwise incredibly rational self-quarantining bunch, walking into mass crowds risking contraction of COVID-19?
Here’s my theory.
COVID-19 gripped us all to the news.
While many Americans typically “tune it all out” we were all suddenly glued to our news sources waiting for updates that would ultimately affect our health, our jobs and our daily comings and goings. We were all, for one moment, united by our own humanity and the power of one little virus that had disrupted every aspect of our lives.
And then we waited … and waited, and waited – for leadership.
Instead we saw confusion, negativity and ultimately nothing comforting whatsoever.
From our Congressman? Silence with the exception of the occasional canned email or social update from his PR team.
And then George Floyd was murdered.
What makes his murder so different from the countless others before?
We were all watching. And then with a complete lack of leadership from the top down, we were all outraged. Connected by our humanity in one of the most vulnerable moments any of us have experienced in our lifetimes, we were outraged to see one of our own – an American during a pandemic – brutally murdered for absolutely no good reason whatsoever. We were outraged to see absolutely zero reaction or solution offered from our leaders in Washington. We were outraged that we have all been forced into a place of fear of speaking out for so long.
And we were all home.
All of the things that keep us so distracted from the news were gone.
No rushing off to the kids’ practices, no parties, no vacations, no travel, no festivals – nothing.
In the void of it all we had room to see and we saw. We saw all 8 minutes and 46 seconds of it, over and over and over again.
Then we watched a few brave young people call for peaceful protests. And we listened.
And then something remarkable happened.
For the first time in our lives, as many white people took to the streets as black and brown people. For the first time in our lives, we all chose to risk our own health for our countrymen. And this was, and still is, a personal decision for each and every one of us depending on their risk category.
But in this district I have seen and joined thousands of you as we chose to put ourselves directly in the path of COVID-19 in order to stand up and fight against a pandemic far worse than COVID, one that has been with us for over 400 years –– institutionalized and systemic racism.
It’s about even more than that though.
This moment is about us saying “no” to division and saying “yes” to unity. This moment is about us all finding a way to bravely speak out against what we find to be abhorrently wrong and to demand answers.
Today, we have a moment. One that doesn’t come along very often in history.
Here are some steps you can take today:
Call local, state and federal legislators and demand solutions. If you need talking points, you can refer to JoinCampaignZero.com.
Nervous about calling? Watch Alaina’s call to Troy Balderson’s office this week for some pointers. You can reach Troy Balderson here: DC Office: (202) 225-5355; Worthington Office: (614) 523-2555
Attend a peaceful protest. Check Facebook or your local activist groups to find one happening near you.
We will be out protesting, calling, donating, and talking to our neighbors for as long as we need to be. Don’t let this moment pass you by.
Ready to flip this district?
Donate today. Every dollar makes a difference.