I sat down this morning to write my usual Friday post, Featured Flowers, with the plan to talk all about the native Canada Columbine. I had my notes jotted down on what I wanted to say and pictures taken of some beautiful blooms I captured at the school pollinator garden yesterday. But before I put my fingers on the keyboard, I decided to jump on my Peloton for a quick 30 minute ride.
I took the Tunde Oyeneyin “Speak Up” ride. The past 2 weeks since the murder of George Floyd have been heavy. My heart hurts thinking what his last half hour of life was like, pleading just to be able to breathe. My heart hurts for the bystanders that watched a man slowly being killed right in front of them in broad daylight while they stood by powerless and unsure what to do. And I have felt uncomfortable in my white skin because it comes with a privilege that I have never asked for but that I have taken for granted. And I have felt unsure of what to say and what to do and how to act to make this all better. So I selected the “Speak Up” ride because maybe it would help ease the heaviness with action, or maybe because it would make it heavier, or maybe because I just want, just need, to do something.
I did not get a PR on this ride, and it does not matter. The ride was not about me. And I am choosing to write about it for no other reason than by putting this out into a public space it makes me accountable to my words and to my actions. And I apologize as I do not know the right words to say. I apologize if my feelings and thoughts are offensive or in anyway diminish what my fellow humans that live with discrimination go through every day. I apologize for as heavy and uncomfortable as I have felt, it is nothing compared to what the Black community feels. to what the Indigenous community feels. to what the Hispanic community feels. to what the Asian community feels. to what any racialized individual feels.
Tunde – during that ride I heard you. And through hearing you I felt your pain. And though I felt your pain, I acknowledge that this is not the same as feeling the depth of the pain that comes from your experiences, and the experiences of your colleagues, family, and community. I want everyone in the black community to know that I will ride with you. I will stand with you. And I will help to be a support to lift you up. Not so that you can be on a pedestal, for which you have never asked, but so that you can finally just stand on level ground.