Feb 2, 2018
Reflections on 13th
13th is a 2016 American documentary by director Ava DuVernay. The film explores the "intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States
Driving to the Market this morning and reflecting on watching the Documentary the 13th with two strong black leaders at the front of the movement I was very moved. I’ve talked for years saying “the only way to address racism is to discuss it with people honestly and openly”. But saying that and doing that are two different things. Watching a movie that does not shy from imagery like lynching or murders is hard enough but sitting with people who's community it directly affects is a whole new ball game.
The vibes in the room ranged sadness, anger, uncomfortability, shame, and tension. As the movie ended and we prepared to have a discussion and I realized I had never had a conversation like this outside my comfort zone. I began to feel angst and a bit uncomfortable yet excited to hear and discuss true genuine perspective.
The two activists that were with us are from All Shades United and they don't pull punches. I decided to try and listen as much as could to a perspective I have rarely been able to hear. The talk was honest and as open as it could be. We discussed the police, prisons, history, racism, systematic racism and the role we all play. We discussed a daily reality from people whose honesty I can only relate to other military members who have experienced war. A realness of genuine struggle with real emotion to back it. A realness that only comes from looking someone in the eye and realizing their truth.
What I took from the discussion is that we all have to own our ancestral part, but it’s not our part to apologize for their part but to create our own. To acknowledge that there is a system set up to hold some of our Country’s brothers and sisters back while giving others a true head start. We have a whole group of countrymen screaming there is a problem and our solution is to brush it off and ignore it. Problems do not get better with time. We need to acknowledge and listen. Stop the fear and listen. Be a citizen that cares for other citizens. Just take a minute and acknowledge that some else's truth is real.