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  • Writer's pictureRebecca B.

Patriotic Inspiration


If you're like me, you're just getting by each day. I really don't know how long I can keep going like this, taking care of a toddler and trying to work at the same time, all in a tiny NYC apartment. And yet. It's hard not to need to do more right now, with the Black Lives Matter movement in full force and people finally listening. The most important election of my lifetime is coming up and the arts need funding like never before. It is a time for action and I don't have the time to shower. Somehow I have friends on social media caring for multiple kids, running businesses, leading protests, calling their senators, making dinner, and posting all about it. HOW?! I want to be inspired by them but mostly it makes me sad I'm not doing this better. I want to be able to tell Oliver about this time when he grows up, how we as a family fought for his future. But I still haven't showered in three days. And ya'll. I have in-person real estate showings now, I need to shower.


Any of this sound familiar? Please say yes. I'm sure there are more out there like me than I know. Who publicizes their lack of action? The problem is it's all so overwhelming, how do you choose what to do? Just the research takes more time than we have. I really just want someone to tell me what to do, without judgement, understanding my limited bandwidth. Wouldn't that be nice? Well, I decided there are probably enough of you out there that I'm going to take a stab at what we can do. I carved out the time (don't ask me how, like literally hiding from my toddler while I googled) to research and at least get us started. Here is a way to buy yourself a little time next week, and some easy tasks to advocate for change and be a part of the revolution around you, all from home. Your welcome.


Meal Planning

It's divine, easy, and tons of food. If you're a family of three or four, it's at least two meals. It takes 20 minutes. So the first night you should have an extra 15-20 minutes saved. Then two days later heat up the leftovers and you have an extra 45 minutes, not making dinner. Now what to do with your extra hour this week...


Reading Assignment

Order this: https://www.biblio.com/secure/buy.bib?aid=bksp&add=1&bid=1332940406&utm_source=bookshop.org&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=oos. I know I said I would be precious with your time. But really, I am. If you had to choose only one book from all the social justice reading lists going around right now, this is it. It's out of stock most places, so you'll be in good company. Take your time with this one. Put it on the bedside table and come and go from it when you have the space. Once you start, you will want to keep going. Already read it? Great. Here's a list to choose another. https://www.cnet.com/news/black-lives-matter-movies-tv-shows-and-books-on-systemic-racism/#fictionbooks. Choose one you haven't read and order it.


Listening Assignment

The reading assignment requires work over time. This is your palate cleanser. Listening to Michelle herself telling life stories, reminding us where good values come from, is inspirational and much needed. Even if you've already done this one, given the current climate and all the other hard work we're doing, start it over. It's full of simple lessons we all need to hear again and again. And it will remind you that the road to the White House begins from childhood. Raise them right and we'll have a better country. How's that for some Fourth of July wisdom!


Petitions

They are petitions to arrest the police who are responsible for the deaths of Elijah McClain and Breonna Taylor, from change.org. Petitions signed here seem to get a voice and actually effect change. These two beautiful lives cut short need justice. They are the people I've chosen to fight for at this time. There are so many that it can get too feel too much to do anything about. If I remember their stories, their faces, their names, I can keep my fight specific and personal, and inspired. On this site, you can read stories and find the fight that will keep you inspired. If you don't have time, sign these. Once you sign a petition here, you will get emails with news from change.org, and their posts suggest small articles, people to follow, podcasts to listen to, that are truly wonderful. Of course I can't click on everything they send, but I look at a lot of it and really love the curated news source.


Email

Send this email: "Hello, My name is _____. I’m emailing today on behalf of the Breonna Taylor case. I’m calling for the prosecution of Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove to the fullest extent of the law—we will not stop until that happens. The man the officers were looking for didn't even live in the same building and was already in custody. Kenneth Walker acted in self defense, and for this he should not be prosecuted. The approach that the officers chose to take in arriving in plain clothes, unmarked cars and not announcing themselves was one that resulted in murder and must not be taken lightly. Black Lives Matter. Regards, ____"

Send it to:

And send it using these contact forms:


Facebook

A grassroots campaign to mobilize people to get all 100 U.S. Senators to be an #ArtsHero and pass massive relief legislation for the arts and culture sector of the economy by August 1. This group of artists is just getting started and need support. Like their page and pay attention in the coming month.


Local politics

Google these names: Roxanne Persaud, Tremaine Wright, Catalina Cruz, Yuh-Line Niou, and Kristen Browde. So you have ordered a new book, downloaded an audio book, signed some petitions, and cut and pasted some emails. I'd say that should have taken 30 minutes of your time. For the next 30 minutes, learn about these local politicians, all backed by Emily's List. The first four are women of color. Browde is transgender. They are bringing the voices of underserved minority groups to the forefront and they need our support. The national political stage right now defeats me. But these women inspire me. And local politicians are more vital than ever.


Celebrate

You've done some good. You've emailed your law makers, educated yourself, and laid groundwork to stay informed and be part of the fight. Now have a cocktail. And while you do, text at least one friend to schedule a catch-up. It's too easy to stay isolated and it isn't good for us. Get a phone/zoom/socially distant meet-up on your calendar. Then when you talk to this friend, here's a suggestion: mention something about what you did with this hour. Maybe you're excited about Catalina Cruz, maybe you're impressed by the Be An Arts Hero campaign, or maybe you were relieved that emailing lawmakers was so easy. Whatever it is, mention it. And not it that, "Hey look at me, I'm awesome" way. That was what the celebratory cocktail was for. This is a non-judgmental, gentle, invitation. If they don't take it, totally fine. But maybe they say, "Oh cool, I don't know about Catalina Cruz..." and you've just helped someone else get inspired.


Isn't that what everyone wants right now, inspiration? I would guess not many of us are feeling patriotic this Fourth of July. Everything is so hard right now. What I wish you this holiday, NYC, is the inspiration to fight for your country. There's nothing more patriotic.

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