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#change

How can such a cliché seem like such a needle in a haystack 😒…? We need to do better, and we need to change… TOGETHER! We need to unite in positively reminding one another that CHANGE NEEDS TO HAPPEN, and we need to unite in being positively reminded that CHANGE STARTS HERE, TOGETHER!

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kixxieText

In the past week or so, social media has enabled the collective reaction + action of communities around the world. Individually, we have felt anger, grief and outrage at the tragic demise of George Floyd. Without any call for rally on a local scale in Singapore, many of us have shown our support and pledged our solidarity with minority groups, against racism and police brutality. We have done so by liking, posting and sharing information in relation to #blacklivesmatter. Also, we have unearthed an uncomfortable truth - racism exists in Singapore. While this situation increases our level of anxiety, resentment and negativity, there is a silver lining - we are banding together with a common belief that racism is wrong. There is hope for a better world when most/more of us will teach our children, grandchildren and students to love others without prejudice.

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yve-eText
image

Anger can be a very powerful motivator. However, it can also be exhausting to maintain for long periods of time, not just mentally and emotionally, but can take a physical toll on the body itself.

At the same time, if we really want to change the world, we need to continue to act. This means that we each need to find a way to contribute on a regular basis to create that change. Over the past week, the focus has been bringing to light the atrocities that those in power inflict upon those they consider powerless, especially how “law enforcement” denigrates, abuses, and murders Blacks. Thousands upon thousands of people all over the world have gathered to protest the status quo, sharing horrific footage of the violence perpetrated by those who are at least nominally supposed to protect us.This has been crucial in bringing attention to the problem.

“Problem.” 

What an inane word to describe the wanton destruction of human lives. Still, it is a problem, and it’s something we need to solve. Making people aware of the situation is only the first step. It’s complicated and has been around for hundreds of years in one form or another. If we are serious about creating sustainable change, we need to approach it from multiple angles.

  • We need people to continue to show up and protest, speak up and sign petitions.
  • We need people to continue to share information.
  • We need people to donate to both national and local organizations to provide legal and social services.
  • We need people to provide those services.
  • We need to vote, especially in local elections that most directly impact our lives.
  • We need people to work to make sure that voting is fair and accessible to all.
  • We need people to run for public office to represent those who have been ignored or suppressed.
  • We need people to support those campaigns.
  • We need people to create stories, music, and art that convey the anguish and heartbreak of the oppressed.
  • We need people to create stories, music, and art that show us how much better the world could be and inspire us to work towards it. Fiction is a wonderful thing; even pure fantasy can contain Truth and give hope for the future.
  • We need people to volunteer in their communities, building connections with their neighbors, one human being to another.
  • We need to seek out and support minority-owned businesses.
  • We need teachers who can explain things to the next generations so that our children not only expect better but are stong enough to demand it.
  • We need everyone to have easy and affordable access to healthcare and nourishing food.
  • We need everyone to have easy, affordable, and non-stigmatizing access to mental health services.

We need so much, and there’s no way any single person can do it all. 

Fortunately, we’re in this together. Find out what calls to your heart, and that can be your contribution to our human tapestry.

The only thing that each of us needs to do is to work on ourselves.

I’m a middlish-class white woman. I grew up in a community that was almost entirely white with a handful of Hispanics. The only black kid I remember in my elementary school was Julie, then in middle school there was Vince. That was it. I only knew TWO black kids until high school. I used to joke that the reason I didn’t grow up prejudiced was because there wasn’t anyone around to be prejudiced against.

At the same time, even though I didn’t have negative assumptions about blacks, I also had NO idea what it was like to be black in the United States. It wasn’t until I was at university that I started to discover that the color of your skin had a huge impact on your world.

I entered UCLA at the tail end of anti-apartheid protests. I thought that racism was something that happened Over There. Then one of my English classes assigned Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and my heart shattered at the horror of a black girl who had so deeply absorbed racist societal standards of “beauty” that she thought that the only way she could ever be considered pretty is if she had blue eyes. Later, I was chatting up this hella cute black guy, talking about how much I loved Johnny Clegg’s music and the way his bands combined Celtic melodies and “tribal rhythms.” With extreme politeness, the guy I was talking with gently informed me that he “found that term offensive.” I was stunned. To me, “tribal” was just a description that, in this case, referred to traditional Zulu music. I didn’t know how to respond, but the incident obviously stayed with me as I thought about it, long and hard.

I’d already been interested in psychology, especially in terms of identity and experience. I ended up majoring in social psychology, curious about how individuals and groups influenced one another. Race became another facet that I sought to understand.

That was 30+ years ago. And you know what? I’m still seeking to understand. Being “woke” isn’t something that happens once where you gain enlightenment and you’re done. It needs to be an active verb, something that you do, throughout your life. I’m still asking myself:

  • Am I making unfounded assumptions? How can I double-check both my premises and conclusions?
  • Am I speaking over anyone?
  • Am I projecting my own experience on someone else and mistaking it for Truth?
  • If I find myself reacting defensively to something someone else says, what does that mean about me? (Generally, it means that, on some level, my own thoughts, feelings, desires and actions are out of integrity; I need to step back and look at myself to see where I need to up my game and do more to walk my talk.)
  • How can I improve how I phrase my words to better convey my thoughts in a way that can be heard and understood as I intend them? And is my intention truly in the service of others or, if I’m just seeking validation or to hear myself talk, would it be better to keep silent?

We all have different backgrounds, experiences, gifts, and fears. We have different dreams and different ways of seeing the world. But we’re all human, and we’re all in this together, and while none of us can single-handedly do everything that needs to be done, we can all do something, even if it’s as small as trying to be a little kinder than we need to be.

We can do this.


You have to wash with the crocodile in the river
You have to swim with the sharks in the sea
You have to live with the crooked politician
Trust those things that you can never see
Ayeye ayeye jesse mfana (jesse boy) ayeye ayeye

You have to trust your lover when you go away
Keep on believing tomorrow will bring a better day
Sometimes you will smile while you’re crying inside
And just once you’ll turn away while the truth is shining bright
Ayeye ayeye Jesse mfana ayeye ayeye

It’s a cruel crazy beautiful world
Every time you wake up I hope it’s under a blue sky
It’s a cruel crazy beautiful world
One day when you wake up I will have to say goodbye
Goodbye…
It’s your world so live in it!

Beyond the door, strange cruel beautiful years lie waiting for you
It kills me to know you won’t escape loneliness,
Maybe you’ll lose hope, too
Ayeye ayeye jesse mfana ayeye ayeye

It’s a cruel crazy beautiful world
Every time you wake up I hope it’s under a blue sky
It’s a cruel crazy beautiful world
One day when you wake up I will have to say goodbye
Goodbye….
It’s your world so live in it!

When I feel your small body close to mine
I feel weak and strong at the same time
So few years to give you wings to fly
Show you the stars to guide your ship by

It’s a cruel crazy beautiful world
Every time you wake up I hope it’s under a blue sky
It’s a cruel crazy beautiful world
One day when you wake up I will have to say goodbye
Goodbye….

It’s your world so live in it!

Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World
Johnny Clegg

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How i have the urge to show you the slightest of physical changes i notice in myself and it makes me extremely sad that you no longer will acknowledge it.

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There’s no easy way to say this so I’ll get straight to it. I want to apologize to anyone in this world that I have hurt, through being ignorant, from not speaking out, from just being silent. I’ve never been too outspoken. I’ve never had much of a platform, nor a following or great online presence. I’ve never been popular and never really had to worry about representing people. I’ve used that as an excuse to not speak out and I want to correct that, starting now.

I grew up in a rural area, where there were no black people, or people of colour, so I never had the chance to make friends with them, learn their perspective, see and experience their struggles. I watched a lot of online creators who were, but never truly got the pain, the struggles and the outright hatred they received, I never had that perspective. But that’s my fault, I never went out of my way to learn. I never tried to do better and I am so sorry for that. I thought that by just trying my best to be accepting myself, that would be enough….and it’s not. I need to point out when I see it happen in my own circles, in online groups I am a part of, and in myself…. Because I know I am not perfect, and I know I have been responsible myself of being hurtful and ignorant.

I had the privilege of growing up as a straight, cis man. I am only now learning to deal with adversity, after coming out as being transgender. And that has been incredibly tough. But learning over the last few weeks what people I know online now, people I have grown to love and admire have had to deal with most of their lives has been eye opening.

I know I will never know what you go through. I know I will never fully understand. But I am going to try. To really try, starting now. I won’t pretend to ever fully know, but I will stand with you as best I can. I will support you. I hope to be called out if I continue to do wrong, so I can continue to learn, but I will try my hardest to be better.

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brxinText

I am deeply disappointed in people I’ve considered friends that are a part of the white and non-black POC community who have consistently been active on social media but SILENT on the black lives matter movement. As a non-black POC, it is important to me to support the end of racism, to be vocally LOUD of my anti-racism. It affects lives everyday, and there is so much deep rooted racism all over the country. By staying silent, you are saying you stand with the oppressor and that THIS does not affect you, so you do not care. It is a selfish silence, but also racist. 

Please recognize the power of your voice and the ability to create change. I have so many friends and family who don’t even understand the issue of not showing up to the polls - not just for our presidential election, but for ALL elections (Congress, local elections, etc.). Stop supporting corporations and the need to stop destroying their property OVER people’s lives. Watch the endless recorded public videos of police brutality & racial profiling. Take a look at the statistics of the socioeconomic structure vs. race, people imprisoned vs. race, educated folks vs. race, etc. It makes it very evident how systematic oppression controls our society, our country, our government, our thoughts.

It’s okay to be vocal and get it wrong because that’s how one learns. We must be constantly open to how we can unlearn racism. It isn’t enough to realize the outright racist remarks (overt & socially unacceptable behaviors), but also the covert & socially acceptable behaviors. It is a conscious, everyday practice especially if you’ve grown up in a racist country built on systematic oppression.This requires learning, teaching, growing, understanding. 

“You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.”

Staying silent is a way people contribute to racism without even recognizing it. It happens everyday. How does silence benefit you at the expense of another? 

Please stand by black people. Please support them. Please listen to them. I’m constantly learning how my thoughts have been planted at a young age to judge silently and how my support can only be considered performative allyship. I’m learning to be better. In the days of social media, everyone’s just fighting to get some brownie points to support a cause. I want to put my money where my mouth is. I want to support the local black businesses, deconstruct the kind of information fed to us through our history books and media, and focus my energy in helping/changing. 

It’s not going to change overnight, but we must commit to it everyday. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE support black people everywhere. Be outspoken about it.

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Either the world is coming together

or else the world is falling apart-

here-now-along these letters,

against the walls of every heart.



Today, tomorrow, within its weather,

the end or beginnings about to start-

the world impossibly coming together

or very possibly falling apart.



Now the lovers’ mouths are open-

maybe the miracle’s about to start:

the world within us coming together

because all around us it’s falling apart. 



Even as they speak, he wonders,

even as the fear departs:

Is that the world coming together?

Can they keep it from falling apart?



The image, gradually, is growing sharper;

now the sound is like a dart:

It seemed their world was coming together

but in fact it was falling apart.



That’s the nightmare, that’s the terror,

that’s the Isaac of this art-

which sees that the world might come together 

if only we’re willing to take it apart.                                                               



The dream, the lure, isn’t an answer

that might be plotted along some chart-

as we know the world that’s coming together

within our knowing’s falling apart.



By Peter Cole, Hymns & Qualms

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I throw a stick into a river

Then strive to see where it goes.

Does it get caught on the reeds,

Stop at a pillar under a bridge?

Or will it find the current

And be carried far further?

All actions can be like this.

I never know how far they’ll reach,

What ripples I’ve made

As my actions drifts further away.

Same with everybody else’s too.

A hundred actions feed the world,

Some just drift a short distance

Others, slowly piled together

Hopefully will change the world.

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