I’ve spent a lot of time in silence this week, most of it just listening because I wanted to understand what was happening with the Black Lives Matter movement. The thing I recognized is that underneath all the anger and the protesting is real pain, the collective pain the black community has felt not just for decades, but generations.

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So I listened a lot and I learned so much. I watched how so many people, including me, are supporting black lives and black stories in different ways: from protests to donations to educating themselves and also sharing and promoting black stories and voices. I was encouraging by the mass efforts to pause and reflect and listen and absorb the powerful experiences and feelings felt by the black community.

I’m an advocate for sitting with uncomfortable topics and facing and acknowledging pain. I try to practice that in my life and it’s been especially relevant this week. If painful experiences are swept under the rug or ignored or dismissed, that pain festers and it never goes away until you shine a spotlight on it and bring it out in the open. Pain can only be healed when it’s seen and validated and addressed, and once that happens, the healing begins. We will only be able to fix this problem when we face it, when we sit with their stories and feel real empathy.

Sometimes we just don’t know what to say so we can only default to “I’m so so sorry you’ve had this experience. I’m listening, I hear you.” But what we can do moving forward is we can absorb their story, reflect on it, and resolve to be better. “When you know better, you do better” is what Maya Angelou taught us.

I woke up early this morning because I just couldn’t sleep and and felt like painting, so I created a black hand holding a bundle of flowers.

And as I painted I kept thinking about how racism is something that’s taught and how the home is the first place kids will learn about it, so it’s important when you have children to take any opportunity to speak out against racism early and often. Then I thought about another favorite Maya quote that sums up how I feel about the human race. “We should all know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” This is such a beautiful summary of the fact that we’re all part of one race which is the human race. All equal, all valuable.

So I turned my hand/bouquet painting into a printable, one you’re welcome to display in your home, should you choose to.

 

If you’d like to print it or frame it or tape it to your fridge, the free printable links are below:

maya angelou on diversity – 11×14” printable

maya angelou on diversity – 8×10’ printable

 

I think of it as a reminder to family, friends, and anyone who enters my home that they should know how I feel about all people. We are equal and we are all one.

I will resume regular content next week and I have a new DIY project to share. 🙂