The other memory that came to me as I heard the verdict reminded me of the words of Dr. King, when he said, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a constant attitude.”
I really can’t think of anything else to add to that statement, except that Black folks and other marginalized groups of people are constantly having to forgive… literally, in order to continue to live. We have to forgive the people who still don’t value our lives in order that we can go on with living those lives.
Research and personal experience have taught me that external hatred tears up the internal spirit. We can exacerbate our stress by spending our time and energy blaming others and feeling ashamed of ourselves (based on how others see or treat us).
We need to expand our knowledge to see how and when oppression and exclusion are happening and grow ourselves past that. And, if we can, to invite others to know and grow with us, and on their own. And this must be a constant – in both attitude and action. And then we must grow these actions from a “way of doing” to a “way of being” – being in the world, being with others. This means learning how to be ourselves, fully, in a world which may not support those efforts, but also be able to create environments where everyone gets to also be their full selves with and around us.
But how can that happen? Let’s reflect on that for now and return to it next week.