To Our Loving Parents
We love you, and wanted to thank you for raising us in a caring and loving environment. You taught us to show compassion for others. You supported us when we showed kindness to strangers. You corrected us when we said things that would be offensive to our teachers or friends. You demonstrated for us what it means to be a supporter and ally. And you taught us that the state of justice in this world is not where it should be and that you have worked hard building towards the world as it should be. You let us into this project not from the bottom, but from the top of your own achievements, and we charged forward with the vigor of youth.
We followed your example. And have continued to build on what you started, ever closer to a better world. We have children of our own now, and have shown them what what has been built so far, pointing to your bricks, and the bricks of your parents, and our own with pride. And they admire you, and look up to where we all stand, eager and hopeful to be helpers and lay bricks of their own.
We pushed the world forward, and the news papers turned into social media. The dinner table conversations became posts to the whole world. And the language and perspectives of progress grew ever higher. And we saw you a little overwhelmed with the rush of change. In time, you have come along, but there has been a lot of change, and the scope and pace have only gotten faster. And some of the things you have shared, said or commented recently don’t sound the same from where we’ve come as they did when we started.
So we would like to reach out our hand then to you, the way you have taught us to do, and the way you’ve done so often. To help pull you up. To show you how far we have come with your help. To share this new and exciting perspective, and maybe lay a few new bricks together. Here are a few of the “Bricks” we’ve laid that you can use as footholds:
- Thanks to your work getting signs like “No Blacks” off businesses and drinking fountains, we were able to see all people as people and not just the color of their skin. In fact: It’s now seen as regressive to say “Blacks” instead of “Black People” or “People of Color”
- Thanks to you befriending, dating and marrying People of Color, it has become so common place as to not even be noteworthy. In fact: It’s now seen as regressive to call out that you have Black Friends as a something that sets you apart.
- Because of your bravery to head into that on the “wrong side of town” to party and appreciate mixed culture and music, it’s now common place to work and play in diverse environments. In fact, it’s gotten so common: It’s now seen as regressive to call attention to the presence of a minority group in a public place.
- Because of your celebration and sharing of the work of minority authors and artists, we have been able to spend much more time listening to the perspectives of people of color, share in their suffering, and appreciate just how privileged we are. In fact: It’s now considered regressive for a white person to respond to the communal suffering of People of Color by providing an anecdote of their own.
- Because of your successful and specific protest of the Vietnam war, marching for women's rights, and protests for Black Rights, we were able to see the value and power that can come when those in the majority who have a louder voice march arm in arm alongside those who are suffering the worst. In fact: It’s now seen as regressive to amend a targeted message like “Black Lives Matter”, with one that includes the majority group like “All Lives Matter”
We hope that our parents are able to see and understand why we’ve been so active (and perhaps too often reactive) to things they’ve said or commented in our social media. And are willing to accept this outstretch hand as an olive branch and an opportunity to grow. Also, yes, I know there are typos and grammatical errors, feel free to send those across as well ❤
I hope that my fellow Millennials will add a few more hand holds that I may have missed, and I only hope that my own limited reach into communities of color will be enough to add diversity into these opinions as well, as there are lots of parents and lots of bricks.
Finally I hope that if this lasts long enough for my children to read it and cringe a little at how far behind I’ve become, that they would help me to find hand holds on the new bricks they’ve laid, because I can already see some of the next generation cruising past and once we’re through cheering you on, a rope would be nice.