I've been away on retreat and a dharma training that is over, at least for now. I am hoping to get invited back but I won't know until June.
Today is Thursday. It is bright and sunny and the dog is sighing at my feet. I've planted peas and spinach in the hopes that the weather won't be totally weird and refuse to nurture little sproutlets.
I have a Black Lives Matter sign in my living room window. I'm currently reading "So You Want to Talk About Race" by a local author, very smart and thoughtful book. I'm not saying any of this to pat myself on the back or be told I'm so woke or anything. I am saying that I am a serious student of both Buddhism and injustice in all it's forms.
And then this happens:
As I was waiting in the Burbank airport on Monday(Hi Elizabeth!) for my plane back to oh-so-white Seattle, I got a frantic call from my daughter, who had arrived in Seattle earlier that day with her boyfriend. Eden is dating Darius, a lovely, nerdy Black man who works in IT and reads books about wine and speaks slowly because he has a slight stutter.
Apparently a neighbor called the cops because there was 'suspicious activity' at my house and a Black man who was probably a burglar was in my back yard. Four, count 'em, four squad cars, came to my house and thank gawd, Eden answered the door to four of Seattle's finest. They announced that they were investigating a burglary and they had body cameras and audio equipment. Eden lost her shit, of course. Actually, she remained calm and told them she was the daughter of the owner and the Black man was her boyfriend. They went away after neighbors came out to see what was going on. This was all in the middle of the day. Darius had taken a walk (!) and someone decided he was an unknown stranger and of course, he was walking while Black.
My first thought was to leave the country and go somewhere where this doesn't happen. I believe I muttered, "Fuck this fucking racist country". But obviously I need to stay here and continue the good fight.
I called neighbors to see if anyone called in a 911 call. Nope, no luck. Today I went to the nearest cop shop and spoke to the rather defensive desk cop about the situation and what to do. She couldn't give me the source of the call but she gave me the 'community relations' guy to call. I did, got his VM. zI thought about the local news stations...
I have white friends and I have friends of color. I do not want my friends of color to be harassed when they come to my house. I don't want anyone who is non-white, female, queer, disabled to be denied their human rights. Period. At all.
My next step is to draft a letter for my neighborhood to tell the story and give them my name and phone number. Call me, don't call the cops. Calling the cops is what gets folks killed. I'll leave letters in mailboxes.
I've had all kinds of folks come here when I'm not here, to stay here, to use the hot tub, etc. No white person has ever been harassed 'walking around in my back yard".
Any thoughts, dear reader? I won't let it go. Can't.