I’d like to start this post with an apology. I spoke with a friend today that kindly but firmly asked me why I am not using my platform to promote the movement for equality. I said that I felt overwhelmed, and that I was fearful of coming off as either anti-racism but anti-cop, or pro-cop and inadvertently racist and that I figured it was better if I just kept quiet. But she then explained to me that silence has major negative effects as well.
I spent the next few hours not at all knowing what I can do to help. I still am unsure of what the best path to take is, so as I move forward I want to say that I know I will likely make mistakes along the way. I’ll likely say things that are insensitive, or hurtful, or wrong but please know that I want to be a part of this discussion, and I want to show my support and help to move the world forward to a place of peace and love and acceptance.
The world is openly divided right now, which means that you’re often faced with being either pro-BLM or pro-police and it can be difficult to navigate the reality of being both. I am part of a police family, and I am proud to know the kind and brave police officers in my life. But I know that just because there are good cops, doesn’t change the fact that the institution has some immense flaws and is in need of reform to protect our citizens and our friends in the black and brown communities. I simultaneously fear my loved ones getting hit with Molotov cocktails, while also fearing a world where someone of color has to be so fearful of any interaction with the law.
I thought for so long that my platform wasn’t fit for any sort of political discussion. It’s a platform for the love of travel and to teach others about yoga. But then I started to think- yoga is about compassion and kindness. It’s about finding and sharing peace. It’s about connecting with ourselves and with the earth.
So often I say how incredibly lucky I am and how grateful I am that I have the opportunities that I do. I have an incredible amount of privilege in my life, and I’m finally seeing that having this amount of privilege and simply being grateful for it is not enough. My entire life and my entire business and my set of morals is based specifically around the practice of “ahimsa”. It translates literally to non-violence, but my view on it expands to compassion and kindness towards all living creatures. We are living in a time where now my silence is no longer compassionate. It is now a time where everyone with a voice, and especially anyone that experiences any level of privilege needs to step forward and hold out a hand for support.
There is still a learning curve for me, but I am open and I am ready to learn exactly what help I can provide with my privilege. For now, I’d like to offer free yoga and meditation to anyone at all that is feeling overwhelmed. If you are struggling to find a moment of peace, please reach out to me and together we’ll work to help you find a little mental clarity so that we can together move forward and get our world to a place of compassion and kindness to all.
If you are a person of color that is feeling overwhelmed by fear or uncertainty, please reach out. If you are white and unsure how to help, please reach out. If you are a member of service that’s struggling with the demands of your job, please reach out. If you’re any person that has found yourself questioning why you make judgement towards other races and you’d like to change, please reach out.
Here's how you can help:
To Shop & Read
Through my friend’s research, she suggest a list of books that are a “good basis for anti-racism education”, and while there’s a very extensive list, here are the books she purchased:
-Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
-Between the World and Me- Ta-Nehisi Coates
-I Am Not Your Negro- James Baldwin
-White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism- Robin Diangelo
-How To Be An Anti Racist- Ibram X. Kendi
-Me and White Supremacy- Layla F. Saad
To Sign Petitions:
To Make Calls:
To Be A Better Ally:
I know that this just scratches the surface in terms of what we can do to move our world and our society forward, but it is a start. I encourage you to go through what’s been listed above and find the ways you can best help. It’s great if you can join a peaceful protest, but if that doesn’t work for you, there are infinite other ways to help.
Make a call, make a donation, voice your opinion when you see an injustice, donate your money to organizations that can use it, shop at minority owned businesses. And I think most importantly, be willing to learn and to adjust.
As a white American, I will never, ever, ever know the struggle of someone of color. But that doesn’t mean that you or I cannot stand up to support our friends. Just because we will never fully understand does not mean we should sit back and watch. Just because the feelings are confusing does not mean we should remain silent. If you’re in my position and you have police in your family, it doesn’t mean you can’t love and support them AND support people of color and the equality movement.
As a white American, you should not stay silent. You should not support any racially based derogatory comments. You should not do nothing. You should not stand by and silently watch.
I want to say a huge thank you to my friend Leah Dubbin-Steckel for calling me out on my silence, but in a very kind way. It’s just another example of how change can happen in a productive way. You don’t have to hate one to support the other. You don’t have to attack someone in any way to get them to promote positive change. But staying silent because you’re unsure of what to say is not the answer. Find a way that you are comfortable promoting peace and equality. Whatever it is for you, find it. And never be afraid to ask for help. Never be afraid to ask for direction. If you want to help and you don’t know what to say, ask. If you want to put some money behind it, but you don’t know where, simply ask.
If you feel as though there’s anything I’ve said wrong, or said poorly, please please tell me. If you think there’s something missing from my list of resources, send it to me and I will add it. As much as I am a supporter of total equality, I have a privilege that sometimes makes it hard for me to fully grasp what needs to be shared and what I need to do, and the way that I learn to be better and to do better is when you help to guide me in the right direction.