I told you in my intro blog that I strongly believe my purpose during my time on Earth is to try to bring joy, to try to make people laugh, to make them forget even for a second all the bad in their lives.
I still believe that whole-heartedly on most days, but not this day. Not right now.
Right now shouldn't be about laughing. It shouldn't be about making people forget. It should be about learning, remembering, and acting starting with myself. It should be about listening.
I've been quiet on social media about what's going on in our country because I wanted to take the time to reflect, understand, and try to put together words that will hopefully have some impact other than just re-posting a fucking Instagram story.
Because who the hell am I to speak on the matter? I don't know shit. So to me, I'd rather be about it in my daily life that's not reflected online rather than, again, posting for the purpose of people checking off boxes saying "yep, Joey made his blanket statement - he's good."
I know, as a white man who grew up around majority white communities, we've never had to fear the cops more than them busting a fucking high school party we were at. It especially hits home when I began to understand that sure, in today's world a white man and black man can be at the same party, but our fear in that situation is definitely not the same.
I'd worry about "damn my mom is gonna kill me" quite not literally while a friend who is black would be worrying "I really could die tonight". And that's fucked up. Forgive my analogy if it's poor, but it made way too much sense to me. And I don't want to be quiet about that.
I want to keep understanding. I want to keep having conversations. I want to keep listening. I want to keep donating to causes. I want people in the black community to know that I'm continuing to try my best to understand that unreal privilege I was born into of not ever having to fear for my life or the lives of most of my loved ones, and to know that I hear them and want to do whatever I can to make our world a better place. I want the black community to know that I know I don't understand, and never will understand, what it's like to live with that fear, but I'm here for you. That's what I've been doing over the last week, and it's what I'm excited to continue to do. But again, who am I to lecture about these injustices whenever I've never had to struggle with them?
Thank God for a co-worker like Brandon Newman using this platform to outline his experience and struggle in our country.
It's awful. It's eye-opening. Especially for a white kid who grew up in the suburbs.
As an Indianapolis guy born and raised, there was a moment in history that happened right here in my favorite city that I've reflected on before, and one I hope you do the same. It took place over 50 years ago the night Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
Bobby Kennedy was on his presidential campaign and just happened to be in Indianapolis that awful night about six blocks away from where I currently live downtown. He took the "stage" on a back of a pickup truck to address a crowd that had gathered to hear him speak and break the news about the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. Unfortunately, his message still rings even more true to this day.
"What we need in the United States is not division. What we need in the United States is not hatred. What we need in the United States in not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion towards one another. A feeling of justice to those who still suffer in our country...We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past, and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence. It is not the end of lawlessness. It is not the end of disorder. But the vast majority of white people, and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land."
- Robert Kennedy, Indianapolis, April 4, 1968
There's a monument for it where the speech took place 52 years ago on the northwest side of downtown. If you're ever in Indy, I suggest checking it out.
As President Obama said in his latest piece on how to make real change in this country, "let's get to work". For me, that means continuing to reach out to people who don't look like me, who I didn't grow up like, and listen to them. Not try to have an answer. Listen and understand.
Then we can get back to laughing. Together.