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Racism has to stop

I grew up in Redding, California, in the 1950s. My high school had only a handful of students of color (black, Latino or Native American). Though as a reporter at the Redding Record-Searchlight I was aware of the small black population of Redding, it wasn’t until I went to work in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1974 that I experienced daily interaction with more than a few non-white folks. Our agency had a diverse multicultural staff and it was only then that I learned about issues affecting people of color or sexual orientation. Then I spent nearly a decade working in a small desert city of predominantly Hispanic population; in 2000 our family moved to Southern Oregon (which has a checkered past dealing with multicultural populations, to put it mildly).

As a human resources professional, of course I attended workshops, seminars, etc. and was fortunate to meet trainer Lee Mun Wah. Subsequently, Mun invited me to participate in the development of his 2011 book Let’s Get Real: What People of Color Can’t Say & Whites Won’t Ask about Racism. It is an amazing book–full of contributions he called “brave gift[s].”

When I read the speech President 45 (I’ve decided not to use his name) made in the Black Hills last Friday night, I dug out my copy of Mun’s book to reflect on what I said then, before the Black Lives Matter movement: ‘When white folks speak up against poor or indeed racist treatment. they are effective allies of people of color. When people of all races speak up against injustice of the courts, they are effective allies of change, It is when nothing is said, when enough people do nothing, that racism is permitted to survive.”

So we can choose to be trapped by the past, however recent, or we can choose, as Mun says, to “promote the healing that we all need.”

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