Nicole O'Neil Photography
This is certainly not photography related and I wondered whether I should share it here. But, the reality is, if I don't speak my truth as a business owner and community member and human, that's not okay. I wouldn't be a good business owner and person if I didn't stand up for what I believe in. If you don't agree and don't want to have me as your photographer, then I accept that. I send you love anyway. Truly.
Resources and Action links at the bottom.
Are you sad? Frustrated? Angry? A little sick? Me too. I have been sitting with it, seeing my own part, my passive part in what has been happening for too long.
I see so many focused on the riots. Riots happen all the time. We see them when sports teams win OR lose. We see them when people are together and herd mentality takes over. There is SO much energy there at once and it amplifies in every person. Energy is a STRONG thing. Is it right to get violent and be destructive? NO. But, when you feel like you are at the end of your rope, when you have tried peaceful protests and were told to shut up, when NOTHING changes, that frustration and sadness is bound to just boil to the surface. Add in a bunch of people with the same feelings and energy—riots.
You didn’t want them to take a knee.
You didn’t want to listen to them.
They just want to be HEARD and SEEN and they deserve to be.
They felt their only choice was to go out and protest this- in the middle of a pandemic when their communities have been some of the hardest hit. They are tired. We are all tired, so they must be. They are at their wit’s end. And we should all see it and start using our voices and our actions to be allies.
So, the riots are riots. They aren’t right but they aren’t some type of proof that your racist thoughts are true. They’re not. DON’T start talking about the riots as if they somehow diminish the real issue at hand. A man was killed. It was on video. It was blatant. It was disgusting. THAT IS THE STORY. The riots are becoming a distraction from what we need to really focus on. Don’t get distracted.
Two videos of men being brutally murdered were shared, people taking things into their own hands.
So many stay silent. Every time something like this happens, I wonder where the good cops are. There are A LOT of great cops. Not all cops are bad, not even close. But, if you see others doing wrong, just admit it. Say you’re outraged too. DO something. Your silence doesn’t help. In fact, I think it hurts. It makes it seem like you condone it. I know it’s hard to speak about “one of your own” but if you disagree, they are not one of your own. The moment they stepped over the line that you wouldn’t, they stopped being one of you.
We can’t just stand by and say we’re saddened or outraged. I admit, I haven’t know what to do and so, haven’t done anything concrete. I have done some of the work , but not enough. None of us can sit by and let these things continue to happen. We all have to OWN our part. We all have to dig into our own lives, backgrounds, cultures and see how we’ve contributed. Do you call that racist uncle out when he says something or do you shrug it off to “he’s just like that”? Do you have ANY thoughts in your head when you see a hooded black boy or man in a store or on the street? Do you use ANY language at all that puts POC down or laugh when someone else does? Do you shout “All Lives Matter”? It doesn’t matter if you “have black friends” or “donated to a cause”. That doesn’t automatically make you NOT racist.
You may truly feel in your heart that you are not racist, but you can have unconscious racial bias. This comes from generational and systematic imprinting. And it takes very conscious work and action to remove it. I know I am going to jump in to the work. I am going to reflect inward and then use my own voice and actions to help things change. We can’t stand by and just be appalled anymore. POC can’t just be killed like this anymore. POC can’t be treated the way they are. WE MUST ALL BE THE CHANGE.
Share this, share other resources, reflect, take action. IF WE AREN'T PART OF THE SOLUTION, WE ARE MOST DEFINITELY PART OF THE PROBLEM.
Click the bottom link to sign the petition. They need to be held accountable.