If you couldn’t tell by now, the titles for my blog posts are getting really long. There is so much to discuss in the world that short titles do not seem fitting anymore.
When I first started Unfiltered Snapshot five years ago, you could tell by my earlier posts that it was meant to serve as a place for advice. The first post is titled Are You Really Looking for Advice? The tagline originally was “Raw Advice for Real Life.” That was the intention.
Because the original intention was to give advice, I found myself only posting when I felt like I had something absolutely “sage” to say. At some point in the early years of Unfiltered Snapshot, I changed the tagline to “Raw Insights for Real Life” because I did not want the pressure of providing wise advice for each post, especially on complex issues where there is not always a clear solution.
If you look at how frequently I posted from 2015 to 2018, you can see how infrequent my posts became. In 2019, I did not post anything because I was so focused on issues impacting my loved ones. I referenced these issues in the December 2018 posts Real Self-Care When Your Life Isn’t Paradise and Allow Yourself to Just -Be-.
For anyone who has been following me since January 2020, you know that I have been more active on Unfiltered Snapshot, but for more personal reasons. In Saying Goodbye to My Body (As I Know It), I talked about being diagnosed with breast cancer only a few weeks prior to the post. The diagnosis made me reflect on my relationship to my body throughout my life and how far I had come in loving it.
A couple months later, I have had to add the effects of the global pandemic of COVID-19 to my life. Then a couple months after that, the murders of George Floyd and countless other Black people have greatly impacted me.
The day before George Floyd’s murder, I already was meditating on the state of racial relations and police brutality and posted my thoughts on this. I remember feeling angry that other people did not seem to care about these issues as much as I did. The next day, George Floyd was murdered, and I saw a reaction to his killing in my social circles that I had not seen before—mainly among non-Black people who generally stayed quiet on these issues in a public forum.
Since his death, I have been incorporating video chats with friends on this blog because I need multiple modalities to express my thoughts and emotions on recent events. As much as I love writing, there is a strong need for us collectively to switch from honest monologues to candid dialogues.
Generally, my friend Becky is game to have a video chat. I have reached out to other friends who can provide diverse perspectives. With that said, I recognize that not everyone is in the headspace to have a recorded discussion on recent events.
This is why I am grateful that my friend Jamela accepted my offer to sit down with me via Zoom to share her raw insights for real life. She is juggling a lot as a Black woman who is balancing her job, social media interactions, civic duties, and parenting life during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and the reignited Black Lives Matter protests.
I keep reading in media and on social media that now is the time to have more candid conversations about race, now is the time to have more candid conversations about racial violence, now is the time to have more candid conversations about police brutality—especially as it relates to Black people in the United States.
While I do not think that conversations are the ultimate goal, they are a step toward broader systemic change, which Jamela emphasized during our video chat. It is great if we are doing our individual parts to demand justice, but systemic change will require a collective effort to reshape the system. While I want people to have a sense of agency when confronting the issues at hand, I need us to recognize that progress can only move forward if we join together to demand racial justice—fervently, collectively, and consistently. As I Tweeted yesterday, “Social justice is not an extracurricular activity.”
People need to realize that reading a few books on antiracism and anti-Blackness, donating to nonprofits, and voting are some individualistic action steps—but there is real work for us all to do over the long term. In this case, long term means years, decades, and centuries.
Actually, there is pressure.
Globally, people in other countries have been protesting in support of Black lives. When you have such a pervasive and consistent global response to the state of anti-Blackness and racial injustice in the United States, it would be irresponsible of us not to join forces with each other to take collective action.
What will you do to push progress forward in promoting Black lives and racial justice?