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  • Emerging Ally

What to say

I have been struggling. I write a blog and I have no idea what to say.

It’s been a tough two months.

Buffalo grocery store mass shooting by a white nationalist who traveled hundreds of miles to essentially hunt down African Americans.

A mass shooting of Asian Americans at a Laguna Woods church in California on the same day.

The shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde Texas where we are still trying to get answers about the actions… or lack thereof … by the police

The hearings on the January 6th terrorist attack on the capital where every day we find things were somehow even worse than we thought.

Then the onslaught of Supreme Court decisions.

First reversing Roe. While this has obvious impacts to abortion rights and women’s health, it throws the right of privacy up in the air… “privacy” is not in the constitution either… Justice Thomas’ opinion also opens the door to the elimination of the right to access contraception and a roll back of same sex marriage. Those are his words not mine. It also provides a pathway to the elimination of the legality of interracial marriage - which Senator Mike Braun brought into question during the nomination for now Supreme Court justice Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Then eviscerating the separation of church and state through decisions on school prayer and using public funding for private religious schools.

Finally virtually eliminating Miranda rights by completely shielding police officers and departments from liability if they do not read someone their rights.

So a tough time. Although ironically I remember the words of a friend of mine who once said “at least you’ll never run out of things to write about”…. LOL!!!

In times like this I wonder what help I can give. To people that are feeling threatened. To people trying to be allies. After all I am supposed to be writing a blog to help. To move the needle.

But I don’t know what to do right now. It is an onslaught and I am reeling. How can I give advice when I am struggling to stand on my own feet?

So I turned to an old standby of mine. Something I always do when things get rough.

I reach out to folks …. And listen.

I just ask people if they are OK.

Someone who looks like they were having a bad day. It was after Buffalo. They suddenly went on about being afraid to go to the grocery store. I had no answers. I just listened.

Another friend who in a meeting had gotten … shall we say … less than supportive questioning on Diversity and Inclusion. Again I had nothing. I just listened.

Someone concerned about the recent Supreme Court decisions and their impacts to future generations. I just listened.

I once had a teacher that said you hear with your mouth. If its open you don’t hear much at all and can’t learn.

People often ask what they need to do to be an ally. I think listening is key. Not to debate. Not to convince people of another point of view. But to learn.

People are frightened right now. I know I am.

Some even terrified.

Just take a moment and reach out to someone …. And listen.

As always I hope this helps. I look forward to continuing the conversation. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

All the best,

Dave Terné (He/Him)

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Aug 16, 2022

Great post, David. Thanks for your thoughts.

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