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We said it together. A community, sort of.

I recognized a few faces gathered in front of the Peace Center. Many I had seen last summer, as we mourned another black boy, shocked that society placed so little value on his life that his killer was set free.

Two of my kids were with me, hands in the air and tears on their cheeks. I had struggled with the choice to bring them; at 11 & 13 there was so much they didn't know about the world (at least 1st-hand). In the end, that's the very reason I brought them.

I remember last summer, in this same courtyard, in the wonderfully-named Peace Center, thinking " 2013, how can this still be happening in America?" That we're here again, in 2014, is both frustrating and disheartening. As I had last time, I hoped coming would help in some way.

Tracey, who had organized last year's gathering, was there, and I could see the fatigue on her face. Her words said it all:

We've got to do something people, cause we can't just march and march. My feet are getting tired, we need something to change.
She was right. Marching, gathering, even giving each other support, wouldn't stop this from being an annual event, or even worse. But she had also helped with a solution. Something she told us last year:
What are you doing? Each of you? How many of us live around people that look just like us, go to school with people who look just like us, worship with people who look just like us? Whether you're black, white, or brown, we need to start talking to each other, meeting each other, helping each other. What are you doing to help a young black boy with more potential than opportunities? Everyone can make a difference, but we have to do something.
She was right...

That's when I had decided to start tutoring at a predominately African-American high school. I needed to do something. It was a great experience, and I'll be doing it again this year.

And that's really the point of this diary. I'm an engineer, not a writer. But I know we all need to do something, and I needed to spread this thought.

So..."Hand's up!"

Not as a protest, but as an action. My hand is up as a volunteer, helping young men in math, letting them know that someone gives a damn. Put your hands up. Do something.

Let's make a stronger community together, one that values everyone's life.

p.s. I always thought that if I got up the gumption to write a diary, that it would be about climate change, a concern that often consumes me. But the events of the last few weeks made me need to write this. Hopefully it makes some difference, somewhere.

Originally posted to 350Energy on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 02:36 PM PDT.

Also republished by New Diarists.

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