For the past ten years, the Safety Harbor community has been an integral part of my life, and I have always been treated as if my life matters.
I was wholeheartedly in favor of the Black Lives Matter – And Justice For All signs, and when the Commission voted to display the signage on city property, I viewed it as two steps forward.
I was disappointed when, at the following week’s meeting, the decision was rescinded in favor of a generic replacement, and I viewed that as one step back.
I believe the main issue at hand is a misunderstanding of the concept of Black Lives Matter. Some are labeling it a political issue. In actuality, it is a moral, civil rights affirmation. Any rhetoric to the contrary dilutes the historical and present-day continuing struggle of Black Americans.
Rather than backtrack and remove the signs, the city could have looked upon this as a teaching moment to educate people as to the true meaning of the principle of Black Lives Matter and its impact on the Black citizens of Safety Harbor.
The momentum is slowed, but it need not be lost. Education and dialogue, based on harmony and respect, are a major key to change. This will take courage on both sides. We live in stressful and emotional times. We are used to preaching to the choir instead of truly listening to others’ viewpoints that differ from our own.
The internet is providing a platform for ugly rants that would not be tolerated face-to-face.
To add to the discomfort, unfamiliar words are being introduced to the national vocabulary: Systemic Racism, White Privilege, White Fragility. These words call for the majority population to do some internal soul searching—an unfamiliar and uncomfortable process.
We are not moving forward as quickly as I might like, but the stumbling beginnings of conversations have started.
Two steps forward, one step back. Reset. Let’s keep the momentum moving forward.
You captured the issue so well, Amy. Our leadership is lacking, so in this case we are the ones we’ve been waiting for, as the saying goes.
Thank you, Carol. Each in our own way to make things better.
Thank you, Robert, for keeping the conversation going.
This may sound unbelievable, but when I moved here in 1993 I thought Safety Harbor was pretty much all white people. I moved here from NJ. I’d never seen an entire town of white people. Of, what I thought was, only white people. I lived off 7th st S. by the city park. I used 7th st/590 or bayshore to come and go. I went to main street, but never needed to go past there or use MLK. I think I lived here for almost a year before I came across Pine st., Elm st. etc.
My first thought was – oh, segregation. I thought, this must be how white people and black people exist together in the South. People of both races leave each other alone, and one side of town is for white people and the other side for black. And, this is just the way things settled into place over time.
I have no clue what black people in the South have been through or are going through now. Nothing’s changed since 1993, that I do know.
I grew up in the suburbs, and throughout school my classmates were black, hispanic and white. I had black friends, hispanic friends, and white friends. I’m not saying racism didn’t exist where I came from, but it’s nothing like down here. I mean, complete neighborhoods of just whites and just blacks is bizarre.
Robert – Thank you for adding your personal experience and perspective to the conversation.
As usual, you’re right on the button. Nicely done.
Thank you, Patricia, for your continuing interest in m blogs.
I remember the term “white guilt”. Where I’m from it was defined as a white person who felt bad or guilty about what had been done to the black race. They would declare themselves not racist, but the nuances and innuendos were always there. It’s “normal”. It has to become “not normal”.
Thank you Amy, for your thoughtful words, and for taking a stand for justice, peace, and progressive action. I hope that we can come together as a community to learn, grow and make positive change.
Thank you, Diane, I echo your words.
Thank you. Great insight. This conversation is vital to a healthy, diverse community that is respectful and aknowledges the fact that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
Yes, Tanja, you captured the essence of the blog.
Well said. Thank you.
Hugh – Thank you for your encouraging words.
Good Morning my friend Amy,
Beautiful stated and so true. We must keep the momentum forward as you have stated. It is also time to
Start looking at changes that must happen in a City that has poor
Leadership in these times of such need for such for the whole community covering All Of Safety Harbor on both side of the tracks , Safety Harbor for All! Peace & Love to all???
Desia – I’m glad you appreciated myblog.