This morning, I ran for Ahmaud Arbery. He was murdered one year ago by three men in Georgia while he was out for a run. The motive: his skin color made him look suspicious.
I often avoid speaking out or speaking up about the racist nature of our country. As I begin to speak, insecurity holds me back. Who am I to speak up? What value does my voice contribute? I doubt, and I remain silent.
Today as I ran 2.23 miles away from my home, I was surrounded by the dark. As a female, I have learned to fear running alone in the dark. Every step, every mile, is a practice of trust. I tell my insecurities to be quiet. I tell myself to stay aware, but to not be afraid. When a man passed me this morning, I told myself he is kind and greeted him with a smile. When a car slowed down behind me, I told myself they are being considerate and sharing the road. Over and over again, I tell myself to not be afraid.
Today as I ran 2.23 miles back home, I let myself imagine Ahmaud’s fear. I let myself imagine that my skin color wasn’t white. This time when a car passed me, I let my mind wander. What if they had a gun? What if they started following me?
When it came time for me to reflect on today’s run, I tossed words around in my mind over and over again. Who am I to speak up? What value does my voice contribute?
Fear and insecurity are one and the same. Fear and insecurity are what allow the racist nature of our country to continue. Who am I to speak up? I’ve been asking myself the wrong question. Who am I to not speak up? Silence is the greatest contributor to injustice. If I don’t speak up, who should? People who are victims of racism? Those who live with the fear every day? I am exactly who should speak up.
My words are clumsy, but my beliefs are strong. We have a problem in this country. Until those of us who aren’t impacted by it recognize its influence on everything in our country, nothing will change. Ahmaud Arbery should not be dead. Anyone who looks like him should be able to run down the street and not be afraid every time a white person approaches.
Today I ran. Today I donated. Today I decided that my words have value in this space because I am ordinary. I am the majority. I am just another middle class, middle aged, white woman. When the majority finally sees what the minority has experienced, our country will become a better place.
If you don’t see it yet, look again. Keep looking. Once you see it, it can be unseen. And if you think it doesn’t exist, start by looking inward. It is in all of us.
To learn more about 2.23 Foundation and run for Maud, click here.