I Stand With You; It’s Time to be a Human Being

Hi 🙂 How are you? How have you been doing lately? We’re in the middle of a pandemic, so there are already a lot of emotions going on. Now, BIPOC are finally being heard after how many years of speaking up and speaking out? Through it all, my stance has only grown stronger – I Stand With You.

We have become so desensitized, so dehumanized that everything is normal and unbelievable at the same time. I cannot imagine feeling complete and absolute HATE towards someone because of the colour of their skin. That said, I also cannot imagine being on the receiving end of such true hate. The disrespect and disgust, the horror and hurt – it’s too much, and it has been for as long as it’s been going on. I watched a documentary on systemic racism called 13th (it’s on Netflix and I definitely recommend it). Did you know that the U.S.A’s 13th Amendment is basically a loophole to the freedom of coloured people?

Privilege is a funny thing.

Even when you have it – when you know deep down in your soul that you will be okay because you have it, you can still feel like it’s not real. I want to say I have never felt like my privilege has played a role in my life. I’d love to say I don’t depend on it, that I don’t need it, that my life would be the exact same without it. I also know all of this to be untrue. Privilege got me here…I do depend on it…a piece of me trusts in it to get me through…I can’t even envision what my life would look like without it; and that shakes me to my core. SO, how do I stand with you?

This fear of the unknown made me uncomfortable as hell. It also pushed me to work through that discomfort and learn. More stories are being shared and more voices are being heard; it is so important to make time to stop, pause, listen and reflect. From discovering new influencers to follow, like Mel B who built The Lip Bar, a vegan and inclusive beauty brand, to movies and tv shows you can watch, I recommend American Son for it’s sheer power to make you feel. I even found an Afro-Vegan food spot in Vancouver, Kula Kitchen that I can’t wait to visit this summer. The point is, I didn’t realize how WHITE my social media was.

I wasn’t actively trying to follow only white people or support white businesses, but it happened anyway. My feed has definitely diversified in the past week alone; it’s not all bright and bubbly with the everyday highlight reels right now. There are more politics, more opinions, and more faces that I don’t recognize. There are also more yogis, more food bloggers, more environmentalists sharing content on my feed. But, it’s exciting to learn and grow from the opinions and experiences of people I otherwise would not have followed without this push.

I will never understand, but I stand with you.

I will never understand what it is like to live in a world where the colour of my skin works so powerfully against me. I’ll never know what it’s like to be seen last, to not feel myself reflected in the clothes I choose, the makeup I wear or the movies I watch. These luxuries have been taken for granted; they were never thoughts in my mind but ignorance is not bliss. I’ll never fully understand, but I stand with you.

I will never know what it’s like to sit in my car reading, and be shot dead – rest in peace Keith Scott. I will never understand how someone can ask for car help and be shot TWELVE times – rest in peace Jonathan Ferrell. I’ll never understand how someone can be sleeping one moment, and shot during a raid in the wrong apartment the next – rest in peace Aiyana Jones. These are three people, three human beings among so many, who were all unarmed and killed because the colour of their skin worked against them.

I’ll say that again. These human beings were unarmed. They were murdered for absolutely no reason; because the reason of “being coloured” does not stand up. I see you and I stand with you; we are all human and it’s about damn time we start acting like it.

But, education is everything.

We need to find the compassion that we all had as children, and be kind to all kinds. I know it’s easier said than done – change is hard, it’s an adjustment and it is uncomfortable and scary. It certainly was low on my list of concern to “live with compassion” even just 2 years ago.

When I made the decision to go vegan, I did it just because. It didn’t mean anything more to me than “I think I could probably survive without eating animals”. But, veganism goes so much deeper than food. It’s in your clothing, the products you use and choose, the leather couch in your living room and ink used for your tattoo. Further, it’s about abuse and cruelty of other living beings for personal gain. It’s about the abuse and cruelty of humans, working in horrible conditions. Take a look at who works on the kill floor of a slaughter house. See who is trying to make ends meet while being paid less than a fair wage, and struggles with their mental health – all for your 5-minute meal and a glass of milk.

As I continue to educate myself, read books, listen to podcasts and surround myself with people, products, businesses and organizations dedicated to a more compassionate way of life, my eyes are more open than I ever thought possible. My core values have always been kind, but the way I have lived has not always reflected them.

This is a Human Rights Issue

Profit is everything and so is perception. That’s why these BIPOC voices are so powerful; because finally, they are being heard, they are being seen, they are fed up and so am I. Enough is Enough. You don’t want to see it? Too bad.

What I learned about veganism is that it’s not an animal rights issue, it’s a human rights issue. I know people who aren’t vegan because they want to support fair trade instead; well guess what, fair-trade is vegan, because veganism is about compassion and kindness to ALL. It’s about standing up and speaking out for those who aren’t being listened to. It’s about partnership and transparency, sustainability and equitable relationships. Kind of sounds like fair-trade…

Choose Compassion

There is still so much to learn, so many people to support, so much hate to remove and it stems from that human instinct in us all.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Nelson Mandela

There is no excuse for how these human beings have been treated – in another life, it could so easily be us, white people, who are oppressed. It’s long overdue for us to check ourselves, to take a step back and remember that. We have a lot of work to do.

We are all human and it’s about damn time we start acting like it.

I see you and I stand with you.

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