As a mom and lawyer who guides parents through the process of documenting their family values, principles, and stories to pass on to future generations, I think A LOT about the legacies we leave behind – and how they’ll be viewed in hindsight.
Over the last several months, we have witnessed time and again the heartbreaking effects of centuries of systemic racism in this country. News cycles once monopolized by the coronavirus now broadcast videos that are shocking – but not surprising to those who live in fear everyday that they, and their children, parents, and other loved ones will be targeted for the color of their skin.
From the weaponized words used to falsely accuse Christian Cooper in New York to the vicious hunting of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, and from the nearly nine-minute neck hold that cost George Floyd his life in Minneapolis to the routine sobriety test that turned deadly for Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta – there is so much work to be done.
Watching grieving family members struggling with the reality that their lives – and those of their small children – are forever altered drives the point home in a particularly poignant way. As a dear friend recently wrote, “Every Black person in America is not okay right now… That is the one question you do not need to ask.”
None of us should be okay.
But, on this Juneteenth – 155 years after slavery was officially ended in the United States (two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed) – there IS reason to be hopeful. The recent nationwide protests have sparked anti-racism solidarity movements all around the world. Voices are coalescing, and many political and corporate leaders are listening.
So we must keep speaking.
That same friend also said, “My suggestion is to do something. Do something now, do something every day, and keep doing it until you see a change. Change is the barometer of success.”
As we navigate these unprecedented times, let’s reflect on the examples we’re setting for our children and how our actions today will impact them for years and generations to come.
In the end, our legacy is the most meaningful thing we leave behind. And we get to decide right now which side of history it will live on.