A little less than 4 years ago, I sat with my mom and 3 year old daughter on the couch at my parents house. My son had already fallen asleep. My daughter was getting close to sleepy, but was still awake. Like me and her grandmother, she has an unfortunate tendency to stay up later than she probably should.
We were watching the election results start to roll in.
And it wasn’t looking good.
I’d voted early, bringing both of my kids with me to vote, just as my parents had always done with me when I was young.
I cried when I cast my vote for Hilary Clinton, certain in that moment that we, my kids and I, were a part of history.
After a few hours of watching the poll results tell me that one of my nightmares was coming true, I went to bed. I no longer had the stomach for it and hoped that maybe I’d wake up and the worst wouldn’t be true.
You know what happened next.
And you know what’s happened for the past 4 years.
This year in particular seems to be calling forth all of the hurt that we’ve inflicted on this planet and its people, spewing it like lava in all directions.
We’ve had several opportunities this year to step up — to rise up and create change.
In some ways, we have stepped up to the challenge, while in other ways we’ve fallen woefully short.
Much of this has to do with who is in a position of power.
It seems to me that it’s beyond time to shift those dynamics of power.
This is not just about the man who currently sits atop the highest pedestal in this land. He is certainly responsible for setting in motion destruction to the environment, women’s rights, lgbtqia+ rights, health care, and voting rights, among other things.
This is also about the PEOPLE who have held power in this country and others for hundreds of years.
The radical shift we need is not just about voting out the racist, misogynistic, destructive people who have held political office for 4 years or 4 decades.
We also need to shift whose voices are amplified.
Who do we listen to?
Yesterday, Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate. She makes history is more ways than one.
She is the first woman of color to appear on a “major U.S. presidential ticket,” and she is the first person of South Asian descent, as well.
A few months ago, we missed our chance to choose a woman as the democratic nominee for president. I’m personally still angry about that.
And I also believe this is a step in the right direction when it comes to shifting power.
Progress is often so much slower than we want it to be.
I watch my kids as they’ve learned how to roll over, crawl, stand up, walk, run, climb, ride bikes…they always want to be 2 steps ahead of where they are. And sometimes as parents we want that, too.
Instead of forcing them to do things they’re not ready for, we gently encourage them. We help them up, when they need help. And if they fall, we dust them off, kiss their booboos, and tell them to try again.
This isn’t a perfect metaphor.
Sometimes, change can’t be gently encouraged.
Or rather, we want it to be powerful, forceful, and immediate.
We’re tired of seeing people suffer or held back unnecessarily. We’re tired of screaming about the injustices others experience or that we experience and feeling that no one is listening or no one cares.
As we participate in protests and continue to watch black people shot for things as legal and normal as going for a jog, or walking down the street to the grocery store or sleeping in their own beds, it can feel like change isn’t happening fast enough.
And in some ways, it still isn’t.
Black people are dying and 50% of white people would still vote for Trump if the election happened tomorrow.
History has its eyes on us.
I can feel a shift, though.
It’s slow moving and it’s powerful.
Women are leading the charge. Paraphrasing Valarie Kaur, women aren’t going into battle; they are birthing something new.
People of color are refusing to back down and are demanding that their voices are heard.
And some people are finally listening.
The question is, “will we rise to meet this new birth and raise it with compassion, integrity, and truth?”
Can we welcome a new type of power?
One birthed by women that doesn’t seek to dominate, but collaborate.
This is the history I want my children to look back on and be proud they were a part of.
Right now, we are the ancestors creating the history our children and their children and their children will learn.
History has its eyes on us.
Will you rise up with me and take this small, powerful step towards big change?
Simple things you can do:
HAVE OPEN, HONEST CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS
SUPPORT PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATES, PARTICULARLY WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF COLOR
GET EDUCATED ON THE DOWN BALLOT CANDIDATES (CITY COUNCIL, STATE REPS)
SUPPORT PROGRESSIVE ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE DOING THE HARD WORK ON THE FRONT LINES FOR VOTING, RACIAL EQUITY AND JUSTICE, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION