Upon arriving home from a trip my husband and I took to Italy, I immediately planned a night out with my mom to catch up. We hadn't seen one another in almost a month, which is pretty much an eternity for us. We decided on grabbing a quick bite at an Italian restaurant because I had gone at least 48 hours without carbonara and was beginning to think my body was suffering from withdrawals. Excited to share stories and pictures of our adventures, our enthusiasm was immediately shut down as my attention shifted to the table beside us as opposed to on my mom, who I hadn't seen in quite some time. However, all I could focus on was the utter disgust I felt seeping out of my veins due to the horribly ignorant comments dripping from the mouths of the other patrons inside the restaurant. Within 2 feet of us, sat a table of 3 discussing the recent spark of the "families belong together" movement. Initially, I felt it would be physically impossible to see the photos of children sitting in cages and not experience an adverse reaction. Instead, these 3 human beings felt as though the children belonged there. Repeatedly stating, "of course these kids were taken from their parents. Maybe they shouldn't have put their own children in danger". One even said that they weren't being put into cages at all. As opposed to recognizing real problems it's now second nature in our country to dismiss anything that doesn't align with your beliefs as "fake news". When hearing people talk in ways that are extremely derogatory, I go through many stages of emotions prior to being able to act, which is something I have been working on. Many may argue that voicing your opinions will do nothing; however, if we succumb to this idea, change will never come; an absolutely terrifying thought that I am unable to accept.
After losing my appetite, blood rushing to every inch of my body to the point of feeling as if I were on fire, I attempted to clear my mind and enjoy the time I had with my mom by drowning their ignorance with the sound of her voice. Every 5 minutes or so, I'd hear another bold statement that shook me to my core. More discussion of immigrants, public education, and global warming incurred. As I slowly, forcefully took one more bite of pasta, I heard the words, "all black people choose to be poor, and I am tired of trying to help". "Trying to help?", I thought. You aren't helping anyone and quite frankly BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) don't want your "help". Now, I do realize that I have countless more hours of reflecting, researching, and learning to do when it comes to white supremacy, but I also knew in that moment, sitting in this small establishment, the people at this table felt safe. They assumed as though the other customers felt the way they did. They wrongfully felt comfortable releasing their racist, demoralizing, largely incorrect views in front of other people and to be honest I’m happy they did. As we stood up to leave, just as loudly as I could, I stated something to the effect of I wish all people would take the time for one moment and exist outside of their own bubble, check their privilege, and simply be human. I also handed a business card to the table that stated no human is illegal, Black lives matter, love is love. The waiter asked me if I knew who they were as if I were crazy, because they were obviously “people of importance“ and although I had no clue, I confidently answered back "of course I do" and walked out.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been battling this internal struggle of what more can we do aside from have uncomfortable conversations attempting to educate other people on just how hurtful and oppressive their actions continue to be.
With that in mind, we have decided to release our Be Human Collection. This collection is intended to encourage people to act. This story is one interaction that I, a white, straight, woman faced. This interaction does not reveal all of the inhumane encounters that others face everyday in our country. Humanity seeks for empathy, understanding, and action. So, when given the opportunity to act, make the correct choice. Choose to be human.