Transforming Pain Into Positive Change
By Catherine Crystal Foster, CEO & Co-founder of Magnify Community. Originally published on Medium.
There are moments when pain becomes so visceral that it becomes visible. This is one of those moments.
For many, dealing with systemic racism is a daily burden. For people with the privilege of never having to consider their race, the explosion of pain and rage we see in the streets today may be a shock. This is uncomfortable, unsettling, unnerving, and that’s the point. Resist the urge to turn away and shut this down. This moment is an opportunity to listen with respect and empathy, to learn, re-evaluate old assumptions, and — most important — to act. Some may feel frozen, worried that they’ll do the wrong thing. This is not the time for inaction or silence.
The embers of this pain have been present and smoldering for generations. At times in America’s history, the embers ignite. With our nation already on edge and a pandemic robbing people of their lives and livelihoods along the racial lines that define persistent inequity, the death of George Floyd was one shocking injustice too many.
Just a few weeks ago, we shared resources about diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism to build knowledge and help chart a path for transformation. We urge you to explore these resources with fresh eyes; embrace the local organizations working to build power and engagement among those traditionally excluded or uncounted; and follow the lead of colleagues who are sharing information about ways to donate funds to fuel powerful social change work in our community and nationwide. As you do, answer the call as leaders urge us to reach out to one another with love, listen deeply, exercise the all-important power of our vote and our voices, and to help others to do the same.
Please reach out to us, connect with your peers, support local organizations that work for justice and uplift community voice, and speak openly about the challenges we face today and ways we can all take action to transform pain into positive change.