Do Not Fear The Opportunity To Do Better

Racial Justice, Food Justice, and Growing A Better World

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“This is not an easy process, and it is not at all fun. And at times, it seems never-ending. At times it may seem like no matter what you do, you are doing something wrong.

But you have to try to adjust to the feelings of shame and pain that come from being confronted with your own racism.

You have to get over the fear of facing the worst in yourself.

You should instead fear unexamined racism. Fear the thought that right now, you could be contributing to the oppression of others and you don’t know it.

But do not fear those who bring that oppression to light. Do not fear the opportunity to do better.”

— Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want To Talk About Race.

Do not fear the opportunity to do better.

George Floyd.  Breonna Taylor.  Ahmaud Arbery.  

People aren’t meant to be hashtags.  They’re meant to breathe and walk and run and sleep freely.  

People aren’t meant to kneel on another’s neck, to drive at another with a truck, to enter a bedroom with guns.  

This is not an easy process, and it is not at all fun. And at times, it seems never-ending.

We are part of nature, connected by breath and water and land.  And that connection inherently means we cannot separate ourselves, no matter how many centuries of ripping apart.  

Doing better is a messy process.  It’s an uncomfortable process.  It’s pulling weeds in a thunderstorm: mud and lightning and a bed of quackgrass that resists your hands, tears at the roots.  But even this is safer than going for a jog as a black person.

You have to get over the fear of facing the worst in yourself. 

White people: we will make mistakes, and it will be uncomfortable and painful. But what’s happening in this country is beyond uncomfortable and painful. 

Don’t shut it out. 

Feel it. 

Talk about it. 

Take action. 

Be part of the transformation.

We can grow a better world. It will take all of us. Step by step. Seed by seed.

But do not fear those who bring that oppression to light. Do not fear the opportunity to do better.

In farming, we don’t know what the weather will bring. We don’t know what pests will show up. In fact, there’s usually way more that we don’t know than what we do know.

But that doesn’t keep us from planting seeds. It doesn’t keep us from spreading compost. It doesn’t keep us from pulling up the weeds and clearing the way for new growth.

In the midst of on-going, deep injustice against black people, we’re learning from and listening to black leaders who have been doing the work to create positive change for a long time.

There’s more that we don’t know than we do, but like in farming, we continue learning, clearing the way, and planting seeds.

Here are some of the leaders in food, farming, parenting, and social justice that I follow and am learning from. 

I encourage you to check them out, keep learning, and take action to grow a world where everyone is safe, free, and able to grow:

Food Solutions NE

Soul Fire Farm

HEAL Food Alliance

Young Farmers Racial Equity Toolkit

Black Lives Matter

SURJ – Showing Up For Racial Justice

Until Freedom

Layla Saad

Ijeoma Oluo

The Conscious Kid

Here Wee Read

To truly grow change, learning needs to be paired with action. Here’s a few things you can do:

Donate money to black-led organizations like Until Freedom and Black Lives Matter (linked above).

Support black authors and artists (including those linked above).

Show up politically: be it going to a protest, calling your representatives, writing a letter to the editor, signing petitions, canvassing or phone-banking ahead of elections, and voting.

Have conversations with your friends and family and encourage them to learn and take action with you.

Do you have specific actions or organizations you’d like to share?

Post them in the comments below. Change takes all of us, and we can grow a better world together.

1 thought on “Do Not Fear The Opportunity To Do Better”

  1. Pingback: Harden Off Your Plants, Not Yourself: Farming, Food & Social Justice - The Good Heart Life

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