Today's New York Times brought me more than my coffee today, one of my favorite writers brought me some good news. My thanks to Joe Nocera’s spotlight on Starbucks and #RaceTogether. Ags my readers here know (all 3 of you!) I am a white, American (born and raised)church going mother who has been involved in the racist sports teams’ identities discussion for more years than I care to count. I learned of the problem when I was in school in the Greater Cleveland area and then later in life as a community justice advocate. The topic crosses from the MLB in Ohio into the NFL in Washington, D.C. down to Atlanta and beyond into our American schools. Serious applause for the courage Howard Schultz has shown in what is perhaps the most globally important justice and social issue of the decade and perhaps, to presume a bit, the century.
Rightly or wrongly we humans are visual creatures. We identify instantly into “us” and “them” based on looks alone. Men/women, children/adults/elderly, black/brown/white/tan/other. So many arguments, battles and wars have begun on these simplistic and wrongheaded categories. After filing a lawsuit in Cleveland, Ohio against the MLB team and stadium corporation at the end of the 1990s I have moved from the courts to the world of social media, however small my efforts. Sometimes our courts simply are too unpredictable on issues so important.
I now live in Boston, MA. My new home city just hosted a peaceful wonderful Marathon. We had runners here from across the world and of all abilities. With the support teams, families and press in many ways it was a microcosm of the world, all colors of people, all kinds of people joining together in health, activity and great energy. The world needs more of this, even when the energy comes from coffee.
To everyone on all sides of this issue I have one question: whatever your perspective, whatever injustice you have survived, whatever injustice you still suffer from, whatever you and yours have endured here is my question: what would justice, in race, community and the larger world look like to you now? Do we still need to kill each other, hurt each other, maim each other in this race we call life? Can we take a deep breath, maybe a second breath and talk things out?
Tonight I heard of another youn man who died too young after an encounter with police, this time the Baltimore police. My sympathies, deep and sincere to his family and all who loved him. Yet I still ask, even in this case, this situation, what would justice look like? What would your own personal justice look like? what will it be for the community, the city of Baltimore, the state and the country? I know, for me, more violence is ot the answser. Neither will any amount of money bring back your loved one. WE may all have our own stories, our own pain but I seldom here this question so I will ask: what DOES judtice look like? What can I do today to bring it closer to reality? I know it is the truth, wherever we are, whatever our days, in our days from sunrise to sundown and beyond, in joy, saddness, pain and celebration, from grief to hope in the race of life we #RaceTogether.