Monday, June 1, 2020

Bright Red

It's the first day of June and everything feels like it's on fire. America is at a turning point, a time when you can stand up for equality and fight injustice, or sit still and do nothing.

My platform is small. My audience is small. But I do have a few thousand people I can reach through social media. I am trying to use my voice there for good. But most of the time I feel helpless in how I can help affect change. But that shouldn't shut me down, or give me the lazy permission to give up. There are places and people I can donate to when I am able to. There are books, authors, videos and lectures I can educate myself with. There are everyday conversations with everyday people I can speak up in. There are things I can do, that you can do, that we all can do to help change the system in America that feeds racism.

I am trying to figure out how to do that and how to simply pay the bills around here. But every single time I post about something this farm sells, something made from a white woman safe from pandemic and prejudice, I feel like an ass. How insanely unimportant I am in this, my farm is in this. But the reality is we all have to keep paying our bills and figuring out how to keep our banks accounts in the black. I am not there today. This farm is starting June in bright red. I need to fight my own fight just to keep this place from sinking back into delinquency or danger. And I will. But keeping my farm above water isn't exactly the most pressing issue in the world right now.

So I will be donating part of what this farm earns this month to Black Lives Matter. I will be using my voice on social media more to educate and make people in my position (the majority of us white, female, farmers or future farmers) aware of how they can help as well.  I will still be running my one-woman business and hoping to have luck there just staying safe. But not without bringing attention to resources and voices more needed than my own.

I will still be sharing stories of the farm, hiking, nature, gardens, and the work and animals around it. I will be spending a solid 4 hours today just weeding. I will share the story of a giant ask tree that fell in a storm a few days ago and how my friends came together to help repair this place and even secret a little firewood. I will talk about dealing with internal and external struggles, as I always have. But I will also talk about what is happening outside this farm. In places my old pickup can't carry me too. And the people who don't have the luxury to write about weeding and tree removal because they're in the ER with tear gas complications.

And it is also the first day of Pride. June is the monthlong celebration of gay pride parades, events, celebrations, parties and city streets painted in rainbows. As a gay woman, that is practically Christmas and I love seeing my Instagram feed filling up with online gatherings and events and every company under the sun celebrating civil rights for LGBTQ folks when just a few decades ago you'd never even imagine a Fortune 500 company saying a single word in support of queer people. But you know what brought on that change... Stonewall. Riots. Fighting for civil rights. It was mostly people of color in the queer community that stood up against the corrupt and demanded visibility and freedoms other citizens took for granted. As a lesbian I can't imagine celebrating pride and ignoring what is going on in cities across the world today.  Remember, and note, it was after the 6th day of riots in 100 cities that the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1968.

I encourage you to use your own voices I your own families and communities as well. Don't discount the power you have. Don't forget simply standing up in a conversation where someone says something racist or untrue and saying, "I don't think that's correct. Why don't you explain what you mean?" usually shuts someone down who doesn't want to admit the reasoning behind and off hand comment that drips of racism. This is no time to be shy, or meek, or want a break from the news and conflict. This is a time that every one of us can stand up for peace and equality.

Move forward in love and kindness. Take care of your and others. Stand against hate. Open your arms and hearts to different views and lives. Don't assume the worst. Be open to hope.