We read The Diary Of Anne Frank in my 8th-grade class. After one of the chapters, we had a class discussion about Nazis and the people who participated and killed other people in concentration camps. I distinctly remember so many of the kids saying they would never do that, that they couldn’t imagine following along, and being part of the Holocaust.
The teacher told us something that has stuck with me since then, which was that we may not know what we would do unless we were there. In that time. In that exact situation.
I’ve always thought of that. I have always thought about the idea that I really may not know what kind of person I am until I’m in the middle of it.
We all have moments we can look back at in history classes when we learned about the actions of others and reflected on what we think we may have done. I claim I would never have had slaves. I claim I wouldn’t kill or terrorize people based on their race. But like my teacher said, I wouldn’t totally know those things until I was actually put to the test.
Right now, it feels like we are all being put to the test. It feels like we are in one of these moments in history our grandchildren will read about and ask us about. We need to be able to say we did the right things. We need to be able to say that we were on the right side of the stories, spreading the right messages, and fighting for the right things. We can’t say that we did nothing.
This doesn’t feel like a moment to watch. It feels like a moment to do something. To donate to something or march for something. To even talk about it. To shut down any and all signs of racism and bigotry, even when they are just jokes.
Right now I feel really discouraged about all of this stuff, and I think we need to be doing the most we can do to help, to elevate, and to support the people who need it most.
I don’t know the exact best thing to do, but it feels like a really great time to set up a one-time or monthly donation to Black Lives Matter. You can do that right here.
I also really recommend watching this 22-minute recap on the events in Charlottesville. Thanks for reading.