The Change I’m Waiting For

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Photos from a friend in Oakland of healing murals springing up after angry protests on the main thoroughfare.

June has me shaken by another horrific death of a black man by a police officer that, coupled with the coronavirus, exposes yet again the widening gap in this country’s social shortfall with communities of color.  

Just as the coronavirus had me recalling learnings from a sixth grade research paper I wrote about the HIV-AIDS epidemic, these days of protests have alerted my political underpinnings established in college and carried into my adult life. Eventually, I became resigned racism, like poverty and homelessness, was too intractable to solve.  But now I wonder has the moment of reckoning arrived?

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I hadn’t even made a dent, reading all the lives lost to cornonavirus, when George Floyd was killed at the hands of law enforcement.

Change starts with me internally, no less.  As a result, I am not only talking less and listening more, but also reeducating myself for a new reality due to the stirrings of a profound awakening. While optimistic, I am managing my expectations.

I also feel like a relic of a now distant past, and I’m more inclined to cede my place to this generation and ones that follow of such diverse voices and backgrounds to create a more equal and just society, since my generation has done such a bang-up job of the world. It’s their turn, after watching remote graduations of even that of my young nephews, and I’ll be the supportive aunt and ally. The impatience of a breathtaking global cross-section of people is real and palpable during a pandemic in which the future is ever so murky, but the present is so intensely clear. With record-high unemployment and too many senseless deaths and losses mourned, there’s no time to waste, nothing more to lose.

 

Back to the Future

 

Three months after starting a new job, it is already quite an odyssey. I am in the other side of the bay, however, I am no stranger to Oakland, where I worked previously before being laid off in 2009. It is pretty much picking up where I left off when I thought I was forging a path forward with a nonprofit whose mission is to end homelessness.
Now I have reinvented myself this time in a contracts management role with an architectural firm. How funny my father can’t even keep up with my career–he tells people I’m now an architect, my journalism aspirations effectively upended.
If the last nine years have taught me anything, it’s openness, forgiveness, kindness and joy. The universe will often respond in kind, if I change the energy inside me away from frustration, anxiety and sorrow.
So here’s to another year, and this time taking things to the next level, playing more offense than defense, and, dare I say, believing in unicorns.