The 2020 event has finished!! Thanks to all who made it possible!
I am a retired computer consultant spending 30+ years in the corporate world. Lately, I'm just an old dude who is angry. I am the walking definition of "white privilege," although it didn't occur to me until a few days after May 25, 2020, what that meant. Here is what I think it means today, and I'm open to re-education.
I always thought it meant it was because I grew up in a bougie lifestyle in Southern Calif. It finally occurred to me 65 years too late. A week after George Floyd's death, I saw an African American man on the news being thrown down to the ground with a knee on his neck for simply jaywalking. I googled to find the video and was surprised to find many MANY instances of jaywalking infractions like this, that result in the same law enforcement behavior. It hit me, I jaywalk/run all the time, and nobody would give me a second look!". I could do it in front of a patrol car, and I'm sure the cop would barely acknowledge me because of my skin color.
That is MY experience. That's what it took to put it in context and make me aware finally. It isn't very comforting to me, as I always thought of myself as a self-aware human being. After a little curiosity and investigation, I am embarrassed by the accessible privilege afforded to me as I wandered through life blissfully unaware.
So yeah, that's part of the reason I'm angry and motivated by what we have seen perpetuated over and over, including George Floyd's death and disturbing video that followed. Then, after participating in a local #BLM march, listening to speakers who were 40-45 years younger than me gave me hope and motivation to DO SOMETHING.
I have come to realize that my message is different from that of the kids I listened to. Here is what I believe. I am not the only old white guy who is beginning to understand that it is time to end our silence. Stand up and speak out against racial prejudices and injustices that have surrounded us but have been unaware of for far too long. Unconsciously or even worse consciously.
I think back to the protests that consumed the country in the late '60s-'70s. I didn't get out and protest then. I should have. I wasn't like the students I met last week. The last draft call was on December 7, 1972, six months after I graduated high school. The authority to induct expired on June 30, 1973. I was not called. I may owe my life to every person who got out and marched in the street.
I'm an endurance junkie. I do all the usual stuff endurance junkies do, Ironman Triathlons, Marathons, 50k Trail runs, Century rides, Double Century Rides, Triple Century Rides, and in 2018 rode across the country mostly following the TransAmerica Trail starting in Astoria OR with deviations halfway through in search of gravel. I'll do just about anything to get in the flow.