Words cannot describe how saddened, frustrated, hurt and exhausted I feel over the recent events that have taken over the national narrative in our country.
Although I did not know George Floyd, my spiritual connection to this world tells me that Floyd was my brother, my uncle, my cousin and so much more than I could ever humanly understand.
As a Black mother to a Black son in Kindergarten, I try to explain the world to him in simplistic terms. I say that God is love and that He made me, you and everything in it. I tell him that people are just little pieces of God sprinkled all throughout the world who are challenged to grow into the highest expressions of their souls during the finite amount of time people are given here on this Earth.
But it is hard to explain the God in someone who forces their knee upon another soul’s throat until they die. It’s also hard to explain those who chose to remain silent as they watched a man slowly die as he gasped for air for eight tragic minutes. It’s hard to explain to a kid any unjust death or any unjust act for that matter. It’s hard to explain that I fear for my son in ways they he cannot fully understand until he is an adult.
Floyd’s death is the most tragic and extreme example of racism. The less extreme versions of this can be seen in everyday instances in our lives when a Black person doesn’t receive equal service in a shop or restaurant, or at work when a Black person is not invited to meetings, not promoted or not hired for unjust reasons. There’s also the targeted aggression that comes when Black people are driving, jogging, bird watching, getting coffee, playing outside, bombarded while sleeping in their homes, and the list goes on and on.
In my personal experience in media, I’ve seen this play out in the roles Black people receive. Black anchors and reporters usually work night and weekend shifts. There are generally more Black reporters working in the field than there are Black anchors working in-house. If a Black anchor snags a prime position anchoring during the week, they are usually not solo anchors. When they are solo anchors, they are told they are “lucky.” They are not told that their skills and achievements have won them the spot. Black people rarely ascend to management roles, such as executive producer or higher. When they do, they are not in their positions long. Black people are yelled and screamed at by managers and colleagues at a high rate. Nevertheless, they are expected to perform at a high level.
The cell phone camera has unmasked macro aggressions as they play out in the streets, but there is still a very constant and forceful stream of micro aggressions that play out in workplaces across America. Black employees cannot simply expose the problem by pulling out their cell phone cameras. They will most certainly lose their jobs and face immediate and long-term career and financial repercussions.
I write this statement to make one ask of you, appealing to the God in you, while you move through this time of turmoil and tension, and beyond: If you see an unjust act play out in any form—whether it be passive or aggressive—make the decision to denounce it on the spot.
Please do not be silent and think you can be neutral and humanistic at the same time.
We are experiencing a humanitarian crisis right now that can be solved with each and every one of our voices and actions showing the aggressors that we will not be a party to their inhumane and shameful ways.
The power is within us to not go through life complicit. Glow through life by standing on the side of justice, unity and light.
Black lives matter because all lives matter.
Markette Sheppard, Founder & CEO
The Glow Brands, LLC