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The arc of the moral universe

Posted in the following categories: Life Lessons, Personal Development

I was supposed to send a “normal” email today.

My normal emails don’t cover current events.

My normal emails don’t discuss politics or racial justice.

But now is not the time for normal.

I struggled with what to write. I thought about skipping this week’s email to give space to far more eloquent voices on racial justice. I feared not knowing exactly what to say. I feared repeating what had already been said. Above all, I feared saying the wrong thing.

But then I realized: None of these is a good reason to remain silent. Our voices are stronger when they rise together. So I started writing.

“Momma” is often the first word that babies utter.

It was among George Floyd’s last. “Momma!” he called out as he struggled for breath, “Momma, I’m through.”

The same word that opens a doorway to love for most people accompanied death’s door for Floyd. His death is a stark and tragic reminder of the prejudice and inequality that still pervade our society.

“The arc of the moral universe is long,” Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “but it bends toward justice.”

But it doesn’t do that automatically.

It doesn’t bend toward justice if you remain silent.

It doesn’t bend toward justice if you proceed as normal.

It doesn’t bend toward justice if you wait for someone else to show up and take action.

It bends toward justice when ordinary people make small, sustained changes that build up over time to something extraordinary—and push the arc toward where it must go.

P.S. Please read Jennifer Eberhardt’s book Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do. The book will shake you to your core and open your eyes to the bias that exists at all levels of society (including within each of us). It will also offer you tools to escape its deep-rooted grip.

P.P.S. Please vote—particularly in local elections. Non-violent protests are important, but they must lead to changes in regulations and laws. Many of the institutions that have the biggest impact on the American criminal justice system operate at the local level (e.g., mayors, city councils, etc.). Yet turnout in local elections is abysmally low, averaging 27% percent of eligible voters.

Decisions are made by those who show up. So please show up.

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