Dear Karen, Remember Me?

I realize this is kind of passive aggressive because first… well your name is clearly not Karen… but because you insist on posting on my page and my inbox your feelings about the Black Lives Matter movement being about one person.  So, I thought I would remind you of some things we have experienced together in a movement during another time in our lives.

We went to high school together. You were there before me, but our school system relocated many of your brown and black “friends” to the school and that is where we became part of this movement.

Remember when we went on that Trust Retreat with Focus Hope? Man… that was a life changing moment for me. There we were, black, brown, and white, learning how to live with each other, fight for one another and love each other. When we got back from that retreat we were on fire! Remember, we formed a steering committee instead of the traditional Class President, VP, Secretary and Treasurer? Why? Because we wanted our graduating class to be representative of who we were… a diverse group of young people wanting to instill change in our world. Much like 2020 huh?

Redford High School Yearbook/First Focus Hope Committee 1978

Remember that same year we made that Focus Hope float for homecoming. We made it in my uncles’ garage… walked that thing all the way to the parade spot as little homemade flowers from tissue paper started falling off. But we did not care. The mission was clear… we work together.

I remember the Focus Hope walks, working in their food distribution center and even becoming part of the Explorers media group where I eventually found my life’s passion.

We planned dances, fundraisers, prom and our graduation day. We were even BFF’s contemplating being roommates before we went to college. We looked at that apartment building in Southfield, remember? I think I changed my mind because we were moving to two different cities for college and neither of us were in the position to hold it down alone or commute. Or maybe it was something different for you. Thing is, we believed in the same things… or so I thought.

Fast forward to our current climate; this has been an amazingly hard year. I have known many people who have succumbed to COVID-19; so many that I have lost count. For the longest, I had a prayer wall constantly growing with people battling the virus and families who have lost loved ones, and though the wall is getting smaller, the virus is still out there… and you know what Karen? The people who are dying the most are those we cared about as advocates for the dream Father Bill Cunningham, Eleanor Josaitis, John Staniloiu and Gil Maddox filled us with during that retreat.

When George Floyd was murdered (or as you wrote, “poor George Floyd”), the tipping point was reached. The divisiveness built by the current governmental administration has nurtured the unrest, distrust and pain that has brought us here. And I am not talking about the protests. I am talking about the point where I have realized that you have forgotten those dreams or never believed in them in the first place. I want to believe you have forgotten and just needed the reminder. But I am afraid it is the latter. So, for that, I will move on. I have changed so much in our years since high school but one thing I will always hold on to is that part of me that still believes in hope.

Bye Karen.



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