Letter from the Editor: My White Response to Black Lives Matter

. July 23, 2020.
Toledo area moms protest for BLM in downtown Sylvania. Photo by Tiana Lashae.
Toledo area moms protest for BLM in downtown Sylvania. Photo by Tiana Lashae.

Sometimes it’s wise to remain silent; other times it’s important to speak up. For me, this is a time to raise my voice in support of Black lives and to amplify Black voices whenever I can. 

The senseless recent killings of Black Americans, regrettably, are nothing new. From young Emmett Till’s murder and mutilation in 1955 to the more recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, David McAtee, Eric Garner, Ahmoud Arbery, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, and countless others, I have learned that racism is not growing worse…it is now simply being filmed.

Erin's daughter, Camille, holding a sign at a recent protest (husband Alex and son Dexter behind her).

Erin’s daughter, Camille, holding a sign at a recent protest (husband Alex and son Dexter behind her).

In my own life, these are the steps I am taking to #dobetter:  

  1. Listen with a humble heart and open ears to what my Black friends, coworkers and acquaintances have to say…even when it makes me uncomfortable. 
  2. Learn as much as I can by reading books, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries and observing my surroundings. I need to educate myself and, as Community Solidarity Response Network leader Ruth Leonard quipped at a recent rally, “Google is free.” 
  3. Actively participate in protests and rallies, bringing my children when appropriate.
  4. Support Black businesses and organizations by liking/following them on social media, frequenting their businesses, sharing my positive experiences and lifting up their voices as much as possible. 

I realize that those actions, alone, may not be too impactful, but I have to start somewhere. While I began this journey years ago, my progress has been slow. These recent events have urged me to know better and to do better…and to do it faster.

In solidarity,
Erin Schoen Marsh