Now you see me... or do you?

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

The words rang out around the world as we watched with tense anticipation and baited breath, jaws and fists clenched – expecting the worst. The collective sigh that we all breathed was palpable, and tears of joy began to flow down the faces of those gathered in the intersection where George Floyd uttered those now three famous words: “I can’t breathe.” But this wasn’t a joy that was based in happiness. No – nothing would bring back the life that was taken from the world in front of our very eyes. This was a joy that was based in hope. A hope that, for the first time, a white police officer was held accountable for the taking of a life. A hint that, at least in the eyes of the twelve jurors, the life of a black man does matter.

The joy would be short-lived, though – for as the verdict rang out, the news was also juxtaposed with the reality that a sixteen year old girl had been killed at the hands of the police in Colombus, Ohio. Mi’Kiah Bryant. And it wasn’t long before the narrative was uttered: the girl had a knife. As if that justifies the taking of a life without question. I watched the spark of hope in the eyes of so many of my black siblings flicker with the realization that the guilty verdict of George Floyd’s murderer was an abnormality; a false sense of security that was shattered as if to say, “no, your life is still in danger. You are still under our control.”

It’s a sense that I know all too well.

As I write this, 15 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been reported as murdered in the United States, the majority of them Black and Latinx transgender women. More than 82 bills have been introduced into legislation across the nation to question how much humanity our elected officials are going to be granting to me as a transgender woman in America.

At the core of what we are seeing across the nation is the question of just that — our humanity.

The question that is ultimately held by those in power. This is the system we have inherited: a system that was built by and held by White America — namely the White Christians — when the first settlers arrived from across the Atlantic. Yet, at the same time, I find it strangely antithetical to the ministry of Jesus, who time and time again reminded even his disciples to check their own privilege, and to recognize that the image of God resides in “the least of these.” Yet, it was that very ideology that threatened the Empire of Rome and the Church – and so they (we) killed Him. Interesting that He would die a death of public asphyxiation at the hands of the State because He was deemed “a threat.”

But isn’t that what we do?

What is it that makes us look at the Black person walking down the street at night and call the police or wonder if we’ve locked our car, while not doing that for the White people? What is it that causes the Black community to think that they cannot call the police – who are tasked with the job of protecting and serving ALL Americans – out of fear that they will become the next hashtag in a long line of victims, only to be forgotten the next week when another name takes their place? What is it that causes me to double check myself every single time I walk into a public restroom? That tells me that I shouldn’t say a word in there because it’s the octave and timbre of my voice that tends to out me as transgender? It is a fear that is based in knowing that I am considered “less than” by those who have been granted power over me. It is the fear that is based in knowing that if I were to be murdered at the hands of the police that there wouldn’t be a collective mourning, but rather a justification that would be offered as if to say, “I told you so,” in essence justifying the fears of those who try and segregate me into places and areas where I can be ignored.

It is with that understanding that I begin to realize that my ability to survive and be seen as a queer transgender woman is inherently tied to those who are struggling to do the same as a person of color. It is a call to name the fears that plague our society; the fears that have been used for far too long to dehumanize and justify discrimination against us.

A few years ago, when I was still living in Fresno, I attended a meeting for “Be the Bridge,” a ministry aimed at advocating for racial understanding and reconciliation at a local Southern Baptist Church. In this church (which had thousands of people who walked through their doors every weekend), only a handful of people showed up to the meeting. This same church would be one of many in the area that would tell me that I was not welcome to be a part of the women’s ministry, despite spending hours of my time talking to them and sharing about my experiences and desire to learn how to be a better woman of God. Why? Fear. Fear that their acceptance of me would cause others to question their faith. Fear that their allowing me into their spaces would make other women uncomfortable. Fear that, knowing that I was attracted to women, would cause me to seduce or even assault the other women in the group. I’ve heard and experienced so much of it in the four years that I’ve spent since coming out.

Ask a good number of Privileged Christians if they think that racism is still an issue in our society today, and they’ll refer to how the Civil Rights era was decades ago — and that we’ve come a long way since then. Most people wouldn’t describe themselves as racist, but if we were to ask people of color in our world, the sad fact is that you would be hard pressed to find many who would honestly say that they have never experienced racism in their life. Same with the women in our lives. Most of them would honestly tell you that they have at some point in their life experienced some type of harassment or feeling of being less than just because of their gender. And don’t get me started on those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. What makes things worse is that the greatest named offender are those who call themselves followers of Christ, even at times using the Bible as a means to justify their actions.

Power is a funny thing, isn’t it?

The more power we have, the more we’re able to get away with in our world. The less we’re a problem because there’s always someone “lesser than” that will be blamed. So why a post, you might ask, on a blog that’s really dedicated to my own experience with the LGBTQ+ community? Because power is something that affects us all. There are moments when, in some places, LGBTQ+ people have power over others. And that power has been wielded against others unjustly. I’ve seen it and experienced it myself when I identify myself as a Christian in many of my own LGBTQ+ circles. The immediate sense that I should be judged and considered “less than” because of my religious views hurts, and with that comes the realization that my voice carries with it less importance because of it.
We talk about equality. We talk about ending systems of oppression - that sets us up against each other in a scramble to gain power. And once we’ve got that power over other people, it’s incredibly hard to let it go. And yet that’s what the example of Jesus continually calls us to — to let go of our power, and in our humanity, considering ourselves less than those around us so that all may be lifted up. And those who have less power? Well, they’ll need to be lifted all the more to reach the top.

I hope it’s not too late. Several of the Old Testament prophets preached a message of repentance. Each name that is broadcast on the news; the hashtags that we read on social media… they’re all an opportunity for repentance; a call for us to examine how we, in our own privilege, have contributed to a system that has allowed another person to die at the hands of another — and to either repent of that, or justify it. The time has come for us to repent.

What will YOU do?

The Currency of Fear

Like many of you, I watched in horror as we saw the crowds of protestors descend on the Capitol building in an effort to undermine our democratic process. That horror turned to sadness and heartache as the realization set in that this wasn’t a surprise. This is where we have been preparing to go, and not just for the last four years — as Kristin Kobes Du Mez outlines so elegantly in her book, Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.

“Evangelical fears were real. Yet these fears were not simply a natural response to changing times. For decades, evangelical leaders had worked to stoke them. Their own power depended on it. Men like James Dobson, Bill Gothard, Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye, Mark Driscoll, Franklin Graham, and countless other lesser lights invoked a sense of peril in order to offer fearful followers their own brand of truth and protection. Generations of evangelicals learned to be afraid of communists, feminists, liberals, secular humanists, “the homosexuals,” the United Nations, the government, Muslims, and immigrants — and they were primed to respond to those fears by looking to a strong man to rescue them from danger, a man who embodied a God-given, testosterone-driven masculinity.” (p. 13)

What we witnessed on January 6th was a culmination of how White supremacy has entitled and created a culture in which this type of behavior is justified when it feels endangered. And where is this fear coming from? What are we to do about it?

Fear.

It’s a perfectly common emotion — one we’ve all experienced at one point or another, and one that drives how we approach life. The fear of flying following the 1986 plane crash that ended with the two planes that collided over our neighborhood on opposite sides of my street in Cerritos drove me to avoid flying as much as possible until a trip in 2019 to Orlando helped calm my nerves. The fear of being crushed in a collapsed parking structure during an earthquake led me to try and park as close to the top as possible whenever I could. Fear at times is healthy — it keeps most of us from doing strange and dangerous things, such as eating raw fish that is still moving at a sushi restaurant. Yet, for those that know how to manipulate those fears within us — that is where we begin to see toxic power taking root.

In the 1930’s, bad economic times and a fear of socialism became the driving force that led people towards the promises of a rising star named Hitler. Promising to create a great Germany, Hitler pointed fingers at the Jewish people and other minority groups as the ones to blame for their economic woes, threatening that Germany would never be great until those groups had been driven from the land. The “new Germany,” the Nazis promised, “would have no class, religious, or regional differences, and the political strife and dissension that characterized the Weimar parliamentary democracy would end. In theory, neither birth nor economic status would be obstacles to social, military, or political advancement.” (State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda, p.9)

Fear of not being able to reach the promised land and what could happen if they failed drove the Germans to support a murderous regime that cost the lives of over six million innocent people.

Fear can be a dangerous thing.

Perhaps that’s why God, throughout Scripture, continually tells us to not be afraid. “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more,” He told a crowd of followers in Luke 12:4, warning them to be on guard against the religious elite. The ones who had created a culture of fear-based religiosity.

“My father,” Jesus explained, “remembers the very sparrows, so how — considering you are worth more than many sparrows — much will the Father remember you?” (Luke 12:5-6. paraphrased) In the same sermon, Jesus also told the story about a man who wanted to work as hard as he could to conserve grain for many years so that he could ‘take life easy’.” The man planned an elaborate scheme to build bigger barns to store his surplus so that he could eat, drink, and be merry without worrying about the future. Yet God said, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12:16-21)

I think it’s interesting how so much of our culture and life are obsessed with preparing for the future — a future that may not be guaranteed. What’s even more interesting is when that preparation distracts us from what God says is truly important — loving the least among us, all the while forgetting that the wealth we might experience is a blessing from God.

D.L. Mayfield, in her book, The Myth of the American Dream: Reflections on Affluence, Autonomy, Safety, and Power, says it like this:

“In the Bible, wealth is a blessing from God — but it is one that can make us forget our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable. It is a blessing and a curse; both of these things are true, and because of this dual reality economics is a core preoccupation of the biblical tradition. Old Testament laws were very much concerned with how the people of God would live together in covenant community: it was assumed you would be close to those who were poor, and therefore you would be more likely to be invested in their future… God’s ideal economy banks on the idea that you shall know your neighbor who is suffering and that you shall be compelled to do something about it.” (p. 15)

In the aftermath of this week’s attack on our nation’s Capitol, I took the time to listen to the news coverage between all of the major cable networks. MSNBC and CNN focused on the outrage and pain; the betrayal the American people were feeling at a leadership that had seemingly incited a mob to storm the heart of our Democracy while pundits like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham continued to stoke the fear that the media’s outrage was going to cost Americans their freedom. Two nights later, their conversations turned to denial that these were acts perpetrated by their viewership and that the “Radical Left” were threatening our First Amendment rights. Fear.

What is it that you are afraid of?

Are you living in a way that is afraid of your future, or are you looking to move forward in faith for what God is calling you to? God will NEVER call you away from loving the “least of these.” Jesus continually spoke out against those who would try and keep all of their belongings instead of giving to the poor and taking care of the most vulnerable of our society.

“But Ellie, what if I have nothing left?”

That, I would argue, is where faith comes in.

During the Old Testament times, while the Israelites wandered through the desert, God sent down manna from Heaven; a daily sustenance that would provide the people with just enough for their day. Try to save some for leftovers, and it would turn rancid.

I wonder how many people tried that. And how many people carried around rancid manna with them “just in case,” because it was “better than nothing” if the supply ran out.

Are you carrying around rancid manna? Perhaps this is your chance to purge that out, to look inside of your own life and faith, and to ask yourself if it is one that is driven by fear, or one that is driven by love.

May God help us on the path towards repentance.

The Stories Told On The Margins

I met her on a dating app. Over a year had passed since I had left my home in Fresno and after several months of connecting with scammers and fake profiles, I connected with a queer woman who was just about my age. She was cute, with gorgeous blue eyes and a genuine smile that conveyed a joy that had been a missing piece of my own life. We started chatting just before the pandemic hit online, and before we knew it, we had struck up a pretty good friendship. Only one problem: she was married; in an open relationship, having come out to her husband as gay at the end of last year.

I remember reasoning with myself and telling me that the only thing I was interested in at the moment was casual dating anyway - I wasn’t wanting a serious relationship, especially since the pain of divorce was still fresh in my memory and living as a single mom with her parents. So when we met up in person for coffee and lunch after several months of chatting on the app, that was the mindset I was in. And, as far as I knew, that was the mindset that she was in too.

Famous last words.

Within the two months following that first date, our relationship began to deepen, and we found ourselves beyond the point of casual dating. But what did this mean, and what would it result in? Time will only tell. In the meantime, I am finding myself wrapped up in a relationship that only years earlier I would have condemned because my faith told me to.

It’s one thing to sit back from the comfort of our pews on Sunday (or laptops in our socially-distanced world) and hear the statistics of people like myself. Trans. Queer. Dating a married woman. By all accounts, from a distance, I am the type of person to be avoided at all costs, as if these were things that were contagious. But look closer — and there’s a real person there. A real story. A human being — created in and bearing the image of God. When was the last time you sat with someone like me and listened to our stories?

And yet that is what Jesus continually called his followers to. Away from the comfort of the Temple Mount. Away from the “normalcy” that religion demanded and towards the margins where the outcasts were kept at a “safe distance” from the Church. The woman at the well. The Samaritans. The lepers. The tax collectors. The prostitutes.

But it wasn’t just Jesus.

God called Jonah to Ninevah. Esther to the king’s harem. Throughout Scripture, God is on a quest for those at the margins. So I ask you, how do you see me? As a statistic to be used as an example in your Sunday church services? A prayer request for your small group? Or as a bearer of the image of God whose story could possibly be worth listening to? That there could possibly be more to my story than a person who has walked away from the popular center where Evangelical Christianity sits?

I love the story of the Woman at the Well. Jesus knew that a woman coming to the well at the heat of the day meant that she wasn’t the type that would mix with the religious normality that would usually come to draw their water earlier. He knew that those that would venture to the well to perform this task at this time of the day were probably avoiding the eyes, stares, gossip, and outright judgment that happens when the marginalized enter into spaces where the community is. Rather than judging her, he sits. He asks her for a drink and begins a conversation. And by the end of this conversation, she has been affirmed to the point where she is running back into the center of her community to tell everyone about the encounter she had just had with the Son of God.

The marginalized made the religious leaders uncomfortable.

That fear and discomfort was passed down to their followers, creating a society where every effort was made to make the marginalized invisible. Those that didn’t fit into the “norm” of their culture were pushed to the edges and ignored. Take the man at the pool of Bethesda. The disabled, sick, and lame were forced to stay here - at a place away from the public view, behind the temple. Here they waited for healing that, for many of them, would never come. Yet Jesus goes out of his way to visit and bring healing. Hope. That is the story of Jesus. The disabled, sick, blind, and lame were not statistics. They were people with stories. And Jesus knew that. But do we?

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned since coming out, it’s that there is life out here on the margins.

Rachel Held Evans said it so well in her book, Searching for Sunday, when she wrote, “here they [the LGBTQ+ Christian community] were, when they had every right in the world to run as far away from the church as their legs would carry them, worshipping together, praying together, healing together. Here they were, being the church that had rejected them. I felt simultaneously furious at Christianity’s enormous capacity to wound and awed by its miraculous capacity to heal.”

Each person on the margins has a story to tell.

Did I set out to be here? To be an outcast from the Church? Did I wake up one morning and decide that I was going to find love in a lesbian relationship with a married woman? No. But this is where I am. And I believe it is where God has called me at the moment. I don’t know where God will call me from here. But what I do know is that these experiences are opening my eyes to the very real presence of God in places where I previously believed He wasn’t.

What are some of the places that you believe God is absent? Are there people or communities that you have always believed are forsaken by God? Or that they have turned their back on God? Perhaps it might be time to listen to their stories. Go out from the comfort of your churches and sit at the margins. You might just be surprised at what - or who - you find there.

Listening to Learn

To be honest, when I came out, I never envisioned myself becoming any sort of activist. I never even envisioned myself living openly as trans. For those who knew me early on into my transition, they might tell you that I never really identified myself as trans or queer unless there was a concern about problems arising. Otherwise, I made it clear that I wanted to be seen as fully female. Even though I never really understood privilege at that point, I knew enough internally to recognize that living as a woman put me at a slight advantage socially over living as a queer trans woman. There was privilege in that understanding - and, much like when I first came to an understanding of what transgender was, I just didn’t have a word for it until it all began to fall into place.

Privilege is a funny word - for many of us, we don’t realize we have it until it’s gone.

I certainly didn’t. I still remember going to the mechanic - the same one I had used for years - after my transition. All of the sudden, the normal itemized list of needed fixes needed to be ‘mansplained’ to me rather than simply handed to me. I remember the first night I stepped back through the doors of an Evangelical church, and realizing that I might not be welcome there. I remember walking back through those doors several weeks later on Sunday mornings, realizing that I would never be able to fully be a part of community at the place where I met and had a life-changing encounter with God because of my identity. Privilege for me in that was simply being able to worship God wherever and however I wanted to. I knew I belonged to something bigger than myself - even though my faith was nowhere near as authentic as it is now - simply because I fit into the “norm” of what everyone expected. If you were to have asked me before if I felt like it was privilege for that to be my reality I would have told you no. It was just something I did. Privilege isn’t often realized until it’s gone.

So when we see the news this week and accusations of white privilege start being thrown around, it’s important to note that most of the people who live with privilege don’t realize that what you’re talking about is them. They don’t see it as privilege - it simply is. Being able to jog through your neighborhood without worrying about being killed is just normal life for you - in fact, it’s a painful exercise that you feel like you have to do to lose those extra 10 pounds so you can fit into the designer dress that you bought last year because you aren’t “privileged enough” to just go out and buy another one this year. The reality of privilege is that it’s often taken for granted until it’s challenged or gone.

“But Ellie, what do we do about that?” you might ask.

“I can’t help the way I’m born! Why are you calling me out and persecuting me - making me feel uncomfortable - because of something that I have no control over?”

I used to hate being called out like that. Being made uncomfortable. When we see the world through that lens, our discomfort can often be seen and taken as persecution - but let me assure you: it’s not. I used to see things like affirmative action as a means to diminish my ability to succeed in life. It used to make me think that I, as a cisgender straight married male, was the one who was oppressed. That somehow allowing someone else to have rights would take away from my own ability to exist in the world. I get it, I really do - but as I often remind people, “when we know better, we are called to do better.” (Paraphrased from Maya Angelou)

So what do we do with it?

There’s a LOT of anger floating around social media right now. For me, it’s reminiscent of what God says to Cain after he kills Abel: “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.” (Genesis 4:10, NKJV) The riots and unrest we are seeing; the pain in the eyes of the people marching through our streets - they are the cries of the blood that has for too long felt the sting of oppression and racism. The reality of life without privilege. It’s easy to try and shut it out - but to do so is the spiritual equivalent of a child sticking their fingers in their ears and signing out loud to try and drown out the things they don’t want to hear. Doing so might relieve your pain for a brief moment, but it doesn’t change anything. The cries are still there - and the pain has intensified.

I realize that in writing this I am woefully inadequate to talk about the systems of injustice that my black friends experience. People have wondered how I went from a conservative Evangelical Republican to where I am now - and here it is: there was a point when I began to realize how much suffering there was in the world, I couldn’t ignore it. When I began to understand the pain because I was experiencing it myself, I couldn’t help but speak out. I began to hear what so many conservatives were convinced was true about the trans community - even though much of it was scare tactics that instilled fear that my very existence meant that they had to hide their daughters and wives. When I ask to be a part of women's’ events, the question that often gets asked is how they can ensure safety in the restrooms. I have to actively work - and in many cases, I have to go out of my way to use a restroom before arriving to the event and just hold it until I can find another one on my way home. Privilege. Who knew that the act of being able to use a bathroom without fear of intimidation, attack, or accusation could be privilege - but for me, it’s a privilege I no longer have. I talk at times to my friends about how I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to use the local city pool - because even an accusation of me using the bathroom in their locker room could destroy my life.

But this isn’t about me, though I’ve rattled on enough about myself. It’s about privilege. The privilege that you have but may not realize. Perhaps you read through what I shared and are beginning to realize things about the trans experience that you never knew. You never thought about the fear that strikes my heart when I need to go to the bathroom. The pain that I feel knowing that there are some church communities who will never accept me fully into their family. It’s my reality. And by reading my story, you’ve learned something. Perhaps it will change the way you approach the subject of trans rights. Of bathroom bills. Of how trans people are seen in your church community. That’s what knowledge does. That’s what listening does.

This is why I urge you, in the midst of the pain that is screaming from our communities right now, perhaps the call is to listen.

Not to respond in anger. Not to claim that your discomfort is some sort of persecution. Listen to the reality that my black friends are sharing. The stories that they tell. Because chances are, when we begin to truly recognize the pain that we never knew was there - pain that comes with things that we tend to just take for granted - we can begin the path of healing.

Walking and Other Privileges

There were several moments this week when I felt compelled to add my voice to the ones asking for justice for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. There were also several moments when the cynical side of me wondered what good it would do. This morning, as I began scrolling through my Facebook feed, it became painfully obvious that while so many of the posts were calling for justice, few were using this opportunity to begin the conversation that needs to happen about race and privilege. Even in writing this, I wonder if there’s a certain privilege that I afford in being able to do so. It’s not something I asked for; it simply is. And it is something that I am committed to learning about as my eyes continued to be open to seeking shalom in our world.

Privilege is something that I never thought about before I came out.

To be honest, living paycheck to paycheck, in a mixed race marriage, in Fresno, with three kids gave me a false sense that I wasn’t as privileged as others. And that’s how it is, isn’t it? It’s easy for us to look at other people who have it better than us - and use that to blind us to our own privilege. I mean, I heard about it, but I never considered myself privileged until I began living as Ellie.

Suddenly, not only did I have to take into consideration the fact that I no longer was afforded the same privileges afforded to cisgender men. I was quickly informed about how I could no longer walk outside in the dark parking lot on my own to get to my car. I wasn’t trusted to understand the itemized invoice for myself when picking up my car from the mechanic. I couldn’t wear whatever I wanted out of the house, because it “wasn’t appropriate for my body type.” And this was just what I heard about living as a woman.

Being transgender is a whole different ballgame. Gone were the days of being able to do something as simple as going to the bathroom without being worried about being called out - or even worse - about not being “female enough.” Whereas I used to be able to walk through the doors of any church before, I now have to check myself at the door to see if I’ll pass as female so I won’t get bothered. And it’s in this realm that my eyes were opened to the privilege that exists in the world. The levels of power and how it runs our world and how we approach the world.

So I struggle with talking much about Ahmaud.

There is a very real sense for me that the privilege I hold as a woman living in a middle-upper class area of Southern California is nothing like the lives of my friends living in the South as people of color. The fear that I face walking out the door of my supportive and quiet suburban neighborhood in light of the hundreds of trans people who are murdered every year is nothing in my world as it is for my friends who worry if a simple morning walk - which I enjoy every morning - could be their last.

It’s for this reason that I don’t feel like I’m qualified enough to talk about Ahmaud. I can join my voices with those who are calling for justice, but just clicking “sign” and “share” to social media is a privilege in and of itself. No, today calls for something deeper. It calls for sitting in the middle of this pain. Because, collectively, it’s all of our pain. We can’t just sit and say “we are all parts of one body” (1 Cor. 12:12-27) on Sunday and then ignore that parts of the body is hurting and dying on the other days. It’s a call for us to all sit and listen to the pain that the black community is experiencing in the midst of this tragedy. It’s sitting with parents and hearing the fear that when they send their kids out the door to play, they may never come home. It’s sitting and hearing the fears that our friends and neighbors have about things that we might be able to do without a second thought. This is how we grow. And so, with that being said, I wanted to share what my friend Brit Barron shared on her Facebook page earlier today, because the best thing I can do with my own privilege is to elevate and give space for the voices of people who need to be heard, rather than trying to speak for them. So here’s Brit:

Hey friends, if you have been following me for a while you know that I started running at the beginning of quarantine and I started with not being able to run 1.5 miles all the way to knocking out 8 mile runs and I’m so proud of myself. But today was easily the hardest run I’ve ever had in my life.As I ran 4 miles through my neighborhood all I could think about was #ahmaudarbery All i could think about was the fact that me, running a slow ass 13 min mile could be threatening enough for someone to take my life because I’m black. And even though I ALWAYS know that my life is at risk because I’m black today just hit hard because I was doing the same thing that he was doing.

At first, I didn’t know what to do and so I smiled and waved at everyone I passed so they would know I wasn’t a threat, then I got so mad thinking about the fact that I had to do that so I just stared straight ahead making no eye contact with anyone but then I got scared about how someone would interpret that and at one point I just stopped and let tears roll down my face. I was and I am so exhausted. These four miles represented how it feels to be black in America - I’m doing what millions of other people do everyday but my brain needs to be moving twice as fast just to keep myself safe.

So listen, I know so many of you have reposted and shared hashtags and that’s great, but let me ask this of you - if you happen to be white and you’ve never been on a run and wondered if you’d come back alive then I ask you to sit with the feelings that brings up. Before a repost, before the easy social action that twitter offers - I want you to feel it. Today on my run I felt sad, angry, desperate and scared to my bones and that feeling is what fuels my work - those feelings fuel me to real life action. So feel your feelings and whatever you feel, keep feeling it until it hits your bones and then ask yourself - not me - ask yourself what to do about it. My guess is that it will go far beyond social media posts and good thing because we desperately need some action to go from these squares and into our real lives.