This morning I was watching the snow fall out side our windows and sipping an espresso that my husband brewed for us. It was a nice start to the day. I was avoiding Facebook and wasn’t too sure I was going to read emails, at least not until after football. Then Trump invaded my morning.
A friend called and since he talks to both of us, I put the call on speaker. Both of us were commenting to our caller who had asked what was new with our community based solar push. We had great news in fact. Renewables portfolio standards were making headway and the bill would pass. Our friend asked about the planned innovation center and the impact on renewable installations. I didn’t have any details but I did mention that while attending the solar conference a white man informed me that he had just started application for a not for profit and wanted to do job training in my community. I had to shake off some very hard feelings of prejudice. The conference was the day after this country had elected an outright bigot, blow hard demagogue to the highest position in this country. My black indignation, hurt, disappointment, anger, frustration, sorrow deeply buried emotions were boiling over. I swallowed hard and suggested that he contact the many minority owned not for profits in our community to ask if he could offer any assistance. My husband had a suggestion and it is the basis of this blog. He said, “Go to your community and try to teach tolerance, peace, equality and justice. That would help.” Totally unTrump actions.
You can label it prejudice if you want and I will accept that. I am biased. I am black and I went through the civil rights era. I demonstrated the best I could. Being a young teen my mother would not sign for me to go to Selma or march in Washington. She knew how risky it would be but she supported my writing and speaking at my predominately white high school. I was vocal and opposed to the Viet Nam war. In all of this I was not militant nor was I violent. Basically I was a hippie, love and peace and follow Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Even when he was assassinated I stayed in a realm of love for all. Here I am today and I am struggling against anger. Trying not to equate all white people with Trump.
Maybe it is the fact that nothing has changed. Hitler is alive in Trump and his minions. The KKK is emboldened to put membership applications on the parked vehicles of people in the suburbs of Illinois. Racial epithets are being plastered all over the country. For years our black president has been hung in effigy and remained above the fray but the white racist elected to the presidency has a hissy fit because he is mocked on Saturday Night Live. First Lady Michelle Obama is derided for wearing a strapless evening gown but a porno queen will be residing in the White House (or maybe not, so the news media claims). I am boiling over.
I am sick of white people using black people to make money and hating us for existing! I worked in social services for many years. I worked along side another black woman as heads of the projects and we ran one of the most successful teen pregnancy projects in the state. We worked with a population of 99% badly abused minority teens and we still had the lowest recidivism rate for repeat pregnancy without teaching abortion or birth control. We taught survival and pride and we expected more of those children than just not getting on welfare. We also had the only program within Catholic Charities that was run by and with workers who looked like the clients. What happened to that successful project? It was closed and two years later reopened with all young white women running it. This is what happens in our society If it works to improve our lot…close it or co-opt it. This is all I could think of when this man told me he was coming to my neighborhood to get contracts, grants, etc. as a not for profit to teach and do job training like there was a vacuum that needed to be filled. There isn’t.
There is no vacuum in job training. There is a huge vacuum in anti discrimination education in his community. There is a huge vacuum in teaching compassion, social justice and the rights of ALL people on this planet. Fill that!
I am taking a class in sustainable development taught by Jeffery D. Sachs. (recommend his book, The Age of Sustainable Development). We could be on the cusp of eradicating extreme poverty world wide but the opportunity is being squelched by corporate greed and the likes of Donald Trump who peddle hatred and capital gains above human dignity. The saddest thing? White people of a certain ilk don’t understand that the hate that is displayed and the support of it will bring ALL of us down. When I think of that I am able to take a breath and remember Martin and remain calm. I still believe that what is needed is for that man who wants to come into my community to spend his time working on his own. Teach your community how hate will destroy it. You won’t get a job because Trump is in office. You may lose your only safety nets because more white people are on public welfare than black people. You may still lose your home because corporations and Wall Street only care about the green back dollar not your poor asses. They don’t care about the color of your butt, just your buying capacity. Teach that. Train against discrimination because it is capable of ultimate destruction. If you don’t care about mine, care about your own. Learn that cooperation brings progress and division brings destruction.
To the gentleman who wants to teach sustainable and renewable jobs: Please go to coal country and teach poor white people how to get jobs in the renewable landscape. They deserve clean, good paying jobs with health care and benefits. I will fight for their rights too but I won’t make money off of there backs.