By Wanda “Sistah Soldier” Petty, President & CEO
Last week, citizens of various countries around the world begin speaking up for racial equity and justice, sounding their voices and standing against injustice. From England to the U.S.A., and many cities in between, determined protesters shouted their voices to bring awareness toward police brutality and unfair treatment toward Black men and women.
As I watched the many televised shows and multitude of people chant for having a right to prosecute anyone (including the police) who holds themselves above the law and attempts to take the law into their own hands, it looks like we have a long journey ahead of us. We must not let the marginalized progress hinder us from continuing to focus on creating change. There’s so much to acknowledge about everything that’s taken place, all for freedom to pursue happiness.
The question that comes to mind is, “to what extent are we willing to endure the hurt, pain, and be shunned to ensure change will come?” Will those who stood on the steps of courthouses, Capitol Hill, and the White House now relax and allow conversations to die down and claim they’ve done everything within their power and yearn for the capacity to continue? Heaven forbid! We must take it further by examining each situation in depth and conduct personal assessments of our willingness to change.
It’s time to examine the stem of the hurt and pain that vividly appears when racism is evident in a conversation. Since pain is often the root of the issue and camouflaged by rampage, rude remarks or violence, people can begin arguing over the smallest thing and respond in such a surprising way. From an outside view, it causes those who observe the act to wonder what prompted such an unnecessary response. Because there’s a deeper problem layered beneath the outward expression, and that’s what often needs addressing. The idea of racist acts is just the outer layer of something internal that has outwardly affected another person. So, if we want to eradicate the problem, we must start at its root. Otherwise, racism will continue to hide in the crevices of people’s hearts and minds.
It must be exposed once and for all if we want to carry out the many protesting efforts across the world and intentionally revise the law enforcement systems. We each have a personal responsibility to make sure our actions toward someone are not underlined by internal hurt, or hidden anguish deep within that originated from other issues. If we can ethically evaluate our actions, we can begin to “be” the change we desire to see. So, I charge you to ponder your ways of being and ask yourself to examine how you will impart a mark of history and carry your torch to the finish line for justice and eradication of oppression and racism in the world. Don’t become distracted by outside appearances (violence, outrage and brutality), but attend to the “what” that started it all! These include the teachings we received as a child, feelings of being threatened, or wanting to control another’s actions to feel comfortable while providing a false sense of security to appease ourselves. We can only control our actions, and our internal fears must be replaced with confidence, love and respect. Conquer the fear, and the freedom, liberty, and pursuit of happiness will have the opportunity to equally shine on the lives of all those who diligently chase it. That’s how we’ll reform the world!
Sistah Soldier is an inspirational leader who helps veterans, women, and minorities step into God’s call for their lives using their creative skills. She’s the CEO, Host, and Executive Producer of SHE VET iNSPIRES Television Show and the Executive Recruiter for SHE MediaTech™.