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  • Writer's pictureAlycia Yerves

Black Lives Matter

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

Imagine art with flower on it

I don’t want to IMAGINE anymore. Let’s work together to make it real.

As a business owner, and as a human, I want to make some things 100% clear.

I am by no means an expert on the subject of race, but as the owner of this page, and someone who is a privileged white woman, I feel it’s important to use this platform to do the right thing by speaking out against injustice and demanding change. I am heartbroken. I am angry.

You may be mad or confused by the riots and destruction. But as a friend posted today, “Protestors are protesting. Looters are looting. Stay focused.” Understand that two things can exist at the same time.

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What happened to #GeorgeFloyd is not new. As Will Smith said (way, way back in 2016, because this is NOT new): “Racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed.”

I have a few friends who have chosen to become cops, and they do extremely challenging work every day and they’re wonderful people. But that doesn’t change the fact that racism and police brutality is an enormous problem with a long history in this country and we finally need to face it.

I am a privileged white woman. This does not mean that I haven’t struggled, or that I am wealthy, or anything like that. It simply means that THE COLOR OF MY CAUCASIAN SKIN has never been an obstacle or problem or issue that’s been held against me or that has kept me from succeeding or moving forward throughout my life. I’ve been pulled over by cops a bunch of times in my life, and most of the time, it’s a friendly (or even jokey) brief encounter that usually does not end in me getting a ticket. Sure, here and there, I was speeding or had a broken taillight. Sure, I had to go to court once for a parking ticket. Wah, wah. BFD. But I never, ever feared for my life during any of those stops, or in any kind of encounter with a police officer.

I am acknowledging my privilege. As such, I know that I can never truly understand the pain and suffering the Black community has endured for centuries. I have SO much work to do. You do, too. I am continuing to do that work, and I know that nothing I do or say could ever be enough. But I am taking action, where I have done next to nothing in the past. I am sorry it’s taken this horrible event to open my eyes.

I’ve always considered myself understanding and open-minded. I did not consider myself racist. No way. But guess what? Silence is compliance.

I am doing several things to take action, but one thing I have done is to make a donation to Black Lives Matter. Because #blacklivesmatter. I encourage you to join me. It is something you can do right now from your phone or computer. Or, seek out another organization fighting racial injustice every day, to make a donation to. There are so very many of them. I will link some below. If you cannot donate your money, then consider supporting in another way such as: donating your time by volunteering, signing a petition, subscribing to news updates, following on social media, attend online webinars and workshops, and more. Call your lawmakers and representatives. Read books. Find podcasts. EDUCATE yourself. Educate YOUR.SELF. This is your duty. This is *YOUR* duty. No one else’s. Think of how many things you look up on Google or YouTube every single day. Start there.

Be part of the solution. Do not be silent. And do not allow your business to be silent either.

The silence is deafening.

I know you may be nervous… scared of what to say… don’t want to offend your customers or followers. But I have to ask you: Do you want to do business with, or associate with, ANYONE who might be offended by you speaking out and being outraged about the murder of George Floyd, dying slowly at the hands of police, on camera for the whole world to see, calling for his mother (who has been deceased for years)? Listen to your heart, my friends. I think you will find that any negative comments or emails you might receive from a few ignorant people are absolutely nothing compared to the deep wound across the throat of our country right now. I encourage you to be brave. To do the right thing.

I also encourage you to check in on your Black friends, neighbors, and colleagues. They are traumatized and tired. You may not know what to say (I didn’t either). You may feel uncomfortable (I did too). You may be overthinking it (Yep, that was me, too).

Do it anyway.

Step outside your comfort zone bubble.

Diversify your circle of influence. Listen to podcasts from people who don’t look like you. Follow different pages, listen to new voices, watch different channels, read new bloggers from people who don’t look like you. Be open to a different point of view.

I come from an arts marketing background and I am grateful for many years I spent working at Count Basie Theatre and Two River Theater (both nonprofit organizations in Red Bank, NJ) where I was fortunate enough to be immersed in an environment where I was regularly exposed to a different point of view. This took place through a myriad of different artists, cultures, audiences, community events, social issues, and important causes. I’ll never forget the first time I read a script by August Wilson, and feeling so inspired and moved by his words and thankful to have been able to work on several of his shows over the years at Two River Theater. I encourage you all to read the plays in Wilson’s American Century Cycle (aka The Pittsburgh Cycle) which consists of 10 plays portraying the 20th century African American experience, from the early 1900’s, when wounds from slavery and the Civil War were still fresh, to the 1990’s, when even a large and increasingly influential black middle class could not escape persistent racial tensions.

I remember reading that first play (and all the other Wilson plays we worked on after that), and feeling WOKE. But I didn’t do anything about it, really. I was inspired by his writing and the performances of the casts and the artistry of the creative teams and I told people to see the shows and designed marketing collateral and created digital content to promote them, and sent emails and made videos and ran ads, etc.

But I, as a human person, outside of being a theater employee, did not TAKE ACTION in any truly meaningful way.

I have to quote Jalen Rose when he said:

"I wish America loved Black people as much as they love Black culture."

I am not perfect. I want to, and will, do better. This will be a long process and I am learning. I encourage you to learn with me. And don’t forget, kids are always listening. So when you speak to your children about these issues, make sure to back it up with your actions.

I’ll post some donation links and resources in the comments below. And don’t forget, start your own journey with good ol’ Google.

And before you comment with “all lives matter” or something similar, please know that all lives cannot matter until Black Lives Matter.

Thanks for reading this.

“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.” —August Wilson

PS: Btw, if you are a business owner, you absolutely do need to turn off your digital ads and tone deaf pre-scheduled posts at this time. Don’t be THAT company. I’ve seen way too much of it.


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