Using MY VOICE to Inspire Change
As the world slowly begins to reopen and begin recovery from a pandemic, we find ourselves being hit in every direction when it comes to injustice among Black Men and Women.
As a Travel Advisor and avid traveler, one of my favorite things about visiting new places is getting the opportunity to participate in and learn more about the culture of the host destination, while also voicing any concerns when I feel something is out of line. I am very pleased that the Travel Industry has stepped up to support Black Travel Agents while letting our voices be heard with the release of this article, and today, I use my platform and my voice to speak out on the current state of affairs in our country.
On Feb. 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbery (25 years old) was killed after jogging in his neighborhood after being confronted by a white man and his son in Brunswick, Georgia. What We Know About the Killing of Ahmaud Arbery
On March 13, 2020, a young woman named Breonna Taylor (26 years old) was killed in her own home by police in Louisville, Kentucky. Who was Breonna Taylor? What we know about the Louisville ER tech fatally shot by police
Both Ahmaud and Breonna were unarmed and killed in cases of mistaken identity because the police and neighbors thought that they were someone else.
May 25, 2020, George Floyd (46 years old) was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota by police while handcuffed. Bystanders observed while this senseless murder was caught on tape, including Floyd’s last words as he called out for his deceased mother. . The killing of George Floyd: What we know
Protests began around the world in demand for justice and change in the judicial system following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor; only three names from a long list of Black Men and Women whose lives were unjustly cut short.
Ahmaud Arbery Breonna Taylor George Floyd
On June 2, 2020, I watched a peaceful protest online as it took place at the First District Police Station in my hometown of Cleveland, OH. I was happy that the 19Action News decided to keep the live coverage online because what happened between the police and protesters needed to be seen. The footage included a conversation between one of the organizers of the protest and Commander Fay, who made several valid points while adding that a sitdown conversation to talk about CHANGE is needed, but that both sides must be able to hear and listen to one another.
Commander Fay also invited the young men to have this conversation when he was ready. This to me was a step in the right direction. As the day went on, Duty Chief Drummond joined the conversation. Both Fay and Drummond went into the crowd to talk and listen to anyone that had something to say. I appreciate the willingness for dialogue, which is so necessary for progress. However, admittedly there was one point of the livestream during which I got upset. One of the protest organizers asked a lady WHY she was there and WHAT her purpose was. This interaction made me feel as if some of the people that were there weren’t there for the right reasons. and didn't understand that CHANGE doesn't happen overnight. . Ultimately, the protest was very peaceful and even ended with a walk through the neighborhood, and a beautiful demonstration of hope as both police and protesters took a knee in the middle of the street TOGETHER. Protesters and Cleveland officers kneel, pray together during George Floyd demonstration at police station
CHANGE starts with you. With me. With each and every one of us individually, and also with all of us together.
CHANGE starts with Corporations walking the walk, and putting actions behind the statements they’ve been sending out to support ending systemic racism. Corporations have the ability to make a difference by changing the way their Executive Leadership Team and overall company culture looks by allowing qualified Black Men and Women the opportunity to compete with their counterparts.
CHANGE starts when you take advantage of your voice and your constitutional rights. By making sure you’re registered to vote, educated on the issues and candidates, and making your vote count! This is not exclusive to a presidential election once every 4 years. Voting on ALL levels is important, especially when it comes to our LOCAL GOVERNMENT. Register Today!
CHANGE starts when you are present and engaging, both in your household as well as in your community. Your response to the Census helps determine funding for your community (schools, fire departments, hospitals, etc), how your community plans for the future (with new homes or businesses that improve your community), and even your government representation (how many seats your state is allocated in the House of Representatives)! Not only is completion of the census your civic duty, but it literally takes less than 5 minutes. Complete yours here.
CHANGE starts by FIGHTING with US and FOR US to end injustice and systemic racism. If you see something that’s wrong, stand up and say something. Don’t be afraid to call out racist actions when you see them - in fact, it’s your responsibility to do exactly that. You can’t love the Black Culture and not help protect the Black People.
As a Black Woman/Business Owner, I will never compromise on ensuring that everyone gets treated with dignity and respect. I encourage you all to engage in these issues with curiosity, humility, empathy, and self-awareness in service of active dialogue, brave allyship, and the human goodness that can be brought out by all of us.
If you would like to have an open dialogue about the state of affairs in our country, and what you can do to help drive CHANGE, send me a message. While it's not my job to educate you, I'm more than happy to engage in open and honest conversation about how we can come TOGETHER to end racial injustice once and for all.
Rosalyn Cooper, Founder and Lead Travel Consultant, Social Butterfly Express, LLC