The Phenomenal Women of Lisa’s Living Room are deeply saddened, angered and frustrated by the racial injustice continually perpetrated against Black people. This is not new and has been the norm of Black people dating back to 1619 when our ancestors were kidnapped and brought to the shores of this country. Slavery, Jim Crow, the Reconstruction and other pivotal dates in history have carved our present and paved the way for systemic racism.
In 1921 was the race riots in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Known as the “Black Wall Street,” the affluent, predominantly Black section of Greenwood, OK was burned to ruins by white mobs, leaving 300 people dead. 99 years later, this is still the tragic reality of Black men, Black women and Black children – the possibility of being killed or threatened for no other reason than the color of their skin. Like Tulsa, there still is little to no criminal punishment for these racist murderers.
Lisa’s Living Room members are mothers, daughters, wives, partners, sisters and friends to the very people that are being hunted like prey. Yes, hunted. We cannot even partake in every day activities such as driving, shopping, praying, jogging or even birdwatching without the chance of being victimized. We, as Black professional women are not above risk. We remember Sisters Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Atiatana Jefferson and the list of Black women who have had their lives stolen goes on and on and on. Telling our loved ones to “get home safely” takes on a different meaning since there is a strong chance they will not. In some cases, we are being killed in our own homes, a place that is supposed to be a safe haven. For Black people, anywhere and anytime, we can become a statistic.
Lisa’s Living Room recommends Black people have “the talk” with your children and other family members. Hold your children’s school, your alma mater and your employer accountable for an appropriate response. What has been their response, if any? Is it actionable and effective or smoke and mirrors? Strategize and mobilize with fellow parents, alumni and colleagues to demand responses that will lead to action and progress for people of color.
To our White counterparts who say they “get it” or are trying to, it is time that you reflect, listen and learn. We need you to do the work. Privilege and the weaponizing of your whiteness is real. How you use it is up to you. Recognize that unlike Black people, race is a non-issue for you. Prove you are an ally by your actions and not just your words. Check in on your Black colleagues. They are not well.
We wish this could end with “and this too shall pass.” It is not that simple. Hate never is. In the words of Toni Morrison, “Racism will disappear when it’s no longer profitable and no longer psychologically useful. When that happens, it’ll be gone.” Lisa’s Living Room hopes this generation and those to follow will witness this in their lifetime.
Until then, let us each do our part – show up, stand up and speak up about this ugliness that is decimating a race of people and destroying a society. As cliche as it is, we are all in this together. #BlackLivesMatter
Peace and blessings,
The Phenomenal Women of Lisa’s Living Room