Black Lives Matter. What’s next? 

A personal, reflective piece by Dr. Gloria Ngezaho, Workforce Equity Manager, Department of Human Resources

It was just a couple of weeks ago that I, alongside the world, witnessed the murder of George Floyd at the hands, or should I say knees, of a White police officer. I sat in silence, along with my family, angry and not knowing what to do. It wasn’t too long after that I decided to share my thoughts with my network. This was a space I needed in that moment, because my entire family was hurting, and I needed to let out the fire that was in me. The following morning, as I prepared to go on my usual morning jog, my four-year-old said, “Daddy, can I kiss you?” At first, it sounded innocent and normal, until he followed the kiss with “Daddy, please be careful. I don’t want you to die.” Right then and there, I knew my kids were scared. Witnessing George Floyd call for his mom while gasping for that last breath was a moment that’s deepened those scars.

Although I held myself in the moment, I shed a few tears and went about my jog. I spent the rest of my jog thinking about what was next. What else? More than just posting and sharing with my network? “I have to do more! I have to for my kids! For the future! I can’t just be here and be angry.” As my thoughts wondered in many different places, suddenly, I got a text from a dear friend: “You are not alone.” Her message was timely because even though I was walking alone, there were plenty of folks holding me in their thoughts. This text reminded me of the following points I’d like to share with everyone, as reminders about best ways to remain constructive while advocating for change.

1. It is NOT Black vs. White

Contrary to some rhetoric out there, the challenges we face are not between Black skinned folks vs. White skinned folks. This is about everyone, at least everyone who does not associate with and subscribe to white supremacy, or racism. There are plenty of folks in my circles who have tried to reframe this fight against racism, and made it sound like it was a fight between Black skinned folks and White skinned folks. I have continuously had to check and correct them, making it clear that we are fighting against a cancerous ideology – white supremacy – not people.

2. Slow Down to Go Fast

I had to remind myself to slow down. It is much easier to make mistakes and make things worse in the heat of the moment because every response tends to be reactionary. I realized I was going too fast, wanting to act on every thought that was coming my way, wanting to jump on every train of thought and action without thinking about the impact and consequences. To slow down, I’ve had to ask the following questions: Am I myself in this moment? What’s driving my actions right now? Is this the right way to proceed? Who else can I connect with?

3. I am NOT Alone

I have to remind myself that I am not alone in this fight. When I say I am not alone, I don’t mean to say there are other Black skinned folks out there facing the same struggles and fighting alongside me. I mean to say that there are many folks of all skin colors (Asian, Black, White, Latinx, Native, Mixed…) who are with me, marching with me, thinking with me, fighting alongside me, often with their own lives on the line. This leads me back to the first point I made; this is not a Black vs. White issue, but about everyone vs. racism.