Our thoughts on PRIDE and Black Lives Matter
We live in interesting times right now. As a lover of history, it's been amazing to me to see history unfold in front of my eyes. In that same breath, it's also been disturbing to see what I thought growing up were great advances in our society in terms of race relations and gains in equality, to not to be what it seems. It saddens me that we live in a society that still has these issues.
I grew up in a small town in Eastern Washington and I always knew that I thought differently than most. My family instilled in me the concept that everyone was truly created equal, no matter their race, sexual orientation or creed. While in school games and interactions with my peers introduced me to their ideas. As I continued to grow and develop those ideas were less in line with the openness I learned with my family. The problem as I saw it then, was the system. No harm appeared to be being done, nothing inappropriate was going on, so no action was taken for correction. It took me entering high school before my eyes began to open to the dichotomy.
I hold the mantra that I am open to learning and with that I am currently learning. One of the best things about moving to the Wenatchee area was the opportunity for my children to go to a diverse school. Their current elementary school offers a dual language program and culture integration. I feel proud that my children are able to have that opportunity and are allowed a more diverse experience.
Growing up, my family was very diverse. I am part Native-American (Shoshone) and I had family members from various races. Though, my most eye opening time of racism occurred at my high school graduation. My cousin, Mikey, is half-black and half-white, and he along with my uncle and his girlfriend at the time, came to town for my graduation. We walked in to my high school building outside of the gym and as we walked towards the doors of the gym, everyone fell silent. I was stunned and didn't quite understand why everyone was so quiet, When I took my place in the lineup of graduates, a nearby classmate said to me, "Who is the black kid you came in with?". I replied, "That's my cousin Mikey." A look of shock came over his face as he turned around and said "No way!". His appearance to doubt my claim put me on the defensive. It was difficult to understand that I was being called a liar for claiming someone to be a blood relation because our skin color was different. It was that moment that I went into a mental crisis of sorts as I tried to understand what was happening. Today, I am still sorting through that moment.
The reason this post is so personal versus a business post is my business is an extension of who I am. Since that incident in 2001 at my graduation and through college and life, I understand more and more each day what Black Lives Matter and PRIDE means to the people within those movements. We alongside them should strive to understand and hold space for that understanding within our communities. This isn't about terrorism. This isn't about kneeling. This is about equality. Treating each other as equals and for me and my business, we are committed to being supporters of equality and helping to grow that culture.