This blog post is out of the normal biweekly routine for It Clicks, and it's needed immediately. With everything going on right now in the world: the spotlight on police brutality of POC, the peaceful protestors, riots and looting, and George Floyd (along with countless others) losing his (their) life over nothing, there's no day but today. It weighs heavy in my heart that we all aren't equal despite efforts and protesting over years and years, and here we are, 2020 still trying to make things equal, and people are fed up. The protesting has turned to rioting and looting in some cities which I don't stand by the riots and looting, but I completely understand it because protesters feel like their voices aren't being heard- something I can only imagine is so terribly frustrating. And I'm sorry for this. I'm sorry to all my neighbors, friends, and friends that are more like family who are of color. I am sorry that every day you have to live differently than me. I'm sorry I don't full understand

BUT.. I want to understand.

Growing up, my mom went to Wayne State University in Detroit for her teaching degree, and every class she attended, my dad was fearful for her. He was raised like other white Americans were in his time- afraid of someone of different color. It's something we can't take back, but it is something we need to change now.

I remember my mom would say, "Why are you so worried? Those black people you're so afraid of are the ones most kind and friendly to me. Why would I be afraid of them?" He didn't understand. A lot of it alludes to being born and raised in a small, primarily white town. But I know he has a heart of gold, and he was taught to fear, not love.

I want to know how I can make a difference. Right now, businesses and people are "muting" their pages temporarily to have the news be predominant. I was going back and forth about it, and trying to decide if me speaking was interrupting, or helping; sounding stupid or coming from a different view as a white woman; but then I thought about the breaks between posts, and if someone needed just a brief second to catch their breath and they landed on my page- whether it is insta, facebook, or otherwise- maybe, just maybe I can do what we are all talking about- make a difference and make a change.

I need to be on here to make a difference and to be so supportive that if someone was looking to occupy their time other than reading the news and they landed here, I could shed some light from a white person's view who wants to make a change. Now- I want to say first handedly, I stand with you. I don't fully understand, but I want to. I will never know what you're going through, but I can try and I can listen. And damn it I want to change minds and see people learning through and from love, not through fear- much like my father learned through fear.

I was on a page called "Girls LOVE Travel." It's a group of women from all over the world to talk about recent trips, places to see, and just overall insight on international travel. Recently, a lady posted this:

My heart sank. I feel sick to my stomach. I never thought of that ever before. The things I search are things to do, best AirBnB's, restaurants, etc. but I've never even thought about it. And this is only ONE thing that divides myself from other women- I know there's a list of other privileges I have that I'm unknowing of. When you travel, you should look forward to the new experiences and cool sites- and not worry if you're going to confront someone who hates you for something you don't decide- your skin color. People with huge hearts, good souls, and purpose are judged based on what they looked like. Ever heard the phrase, "Don't judge a book by it's cover?"

Matthew 22 v. 37-39 says,

"[37] Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

[38] This is the first and great commandment.

[39] And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

I don't recall Jesus saying "Love your neighbors as yourself- except for if they are black, or brown, or yellow- or anything non-white. Then don't love them... And actually treat them unequal if possible.. COME ON. EYE ROLL + HUFFY PUFF!

How are we supposed to craft ourselves in the image of Jesus if we cannot love fully and fight for our neighbors? How? I'm not creating this post for me. I don't have to go through the struggles and the day to day thought "How's today going to go?" like my POC friends and neighbors. I'm doing this for them. I'm doing it for my friends who are more like family, for my best friends, for my best friend's wife/husband/partner/child. They deserve every chance that some of us bat an eye at because we don't realize how stinking privileged we are.

I'm doing this for the white people who don't fully understand the injustice in the world STILL today, who think- well all lives matter. Yes of course, however until truly black lives matter, no lives matter. I'm making this post for someone who is trying to turn a blind eye to everything. Hopefully they will read these words, and gosh just hopefully it will seep down into their soul. Or even someone who is tired of hearing about the riots and destruction because they don't understand why it is happening but nonetheless, they just need to hear explanation from someone else- not the news- not social media on what it means to them- maybe they are someone who is just a white girl and has a little firmer of a grasp. It doesn't matter who needs this blog right now- it can be everyone, or it can be just a few. I just know I want to help be the change and use this platform and any others I possibly can to make life better for the people I care and love. Lately, I have had "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson playing in the background of my mind. We need to start with within and make sure we are all doing what we can. Donate, support, speak out, listen to a friend, and make some internal changes if something isn't sitting right in your soul.

Personally, I think the ONLY thing we should "judge" others for is their heart and intentions. I feel there are people who have selfish hearts- these are the ones who are fine and comfortable with whatever is going on in their world so they don't care for another person and their suffering. They want things to stay the same because it's "their" way and they aren't effected- so why does it matter.

Then, there's selfless hearts. These are the people who will go out of their way to help someone in need, who will show you empathy and cry with you. These are the people who will feel a little uncomfortable to try and seek change and understand more fully and deeply even if it means they may look uninformed.

It's time to open up those conversations that make us feel a little uneasy and like we are walking on eggshells trying to avoid upsetting one another. We need to have a safe place to spill the tea about what's going on and how we can learn- together- to end this and shape our future.

My soul sister, Codi and I have been talking about this for a while, and we finally feel like we are compelled to begin- we are starting up our conversation, "Tea Cozies" where we can create a safe place for everyone and take down this division.

We want to hear from you and we want to amplify it louder for the people in the back. We want to be your voice when it seems like you can't shout it. We want to know what it is like growing up not white- what learning curves did you have? What do we need to do to change? What are things we don't know behind the scenes, your worries and thoughts. We are here for you. We are ready to listen.

PLEASE please email me erika@itclicksphoto.com and let's set up a time to have a safe and open conversation about what goes on behind the scenes, what lessons you were taught, what experiences you have had, and what you need me, Codi, and others to do to make it change.

Selfless love- put yourself in another's shoes and walk a mile. Walk a year- hell, walk a lifetime and see how you're treated...

We need equality. Now.

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