I woke up this morning as a white, cisgendered, heterosexual, middle aged, non-disabled, middle class, Christian male in a land that is designed by and for people just like me to privilege and benefit people just like me.
Today, I will not ask anyone to be patient;
I will not admonish anyone to calm down;
I will not implore anyone to relax;
I will not patronizingly say "everything will be okay" to anyone.
Doing any of the above only reaffirms and reinforces my position of privilege.
Today is a day to be quiet.
Today is a day to listen.
Today is a day to be with one another.
Today is a day to acknowledge our sin and brokenness.
Today is a day to sit with someone in their real pain and fear.
Today is a day stand up for the rights of others.
And so is tomorrow.
To my friends and family whose skin tone is one of the many beautiful shades of brown, bronze, olive, yellow, or any other hue under the sun...
To my transgendered, queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual friends and family...
To my friends and family who are made to feel too old or too young...
To my friends and family who have physical disabilities or mental health conditions...
To my friends and family who struggle every day to have the day's basic needs met...
To my friends and family who are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jain, atheist...
To my friends and family who are women...
everything was not okay yesterday,
and it certainly is not okay today.
Today and tomorrow and the day after that,
I pledge to stand with you.
I pledge to hear you.
I pledge to fight for your rights and your humanity and against the systems that are in place that perpetuate the denial of both.
I will not do it perfectly. But I pledge to do it.
I am here. I am with you.