My heart is heavy, as most of yours are.
I have so much to say, and have felt all ranges of emotions. And yet at times I feel paralyzed to move and speak, and to share sewing projects again. We all process emotion and life experience in different ways. I am only speaking to my own experience and this is not meant to judge others and their platforms. For me, I don’t feel ready to share projects I’ve made and to be the bubbly person that I typically am, when inside I feel saddened for our country, and for our Black sisters and brothers, and for the world, and for the complex discussion of police brutality, the police force, the justice system, and the overall system that we have set up in this country.
I have had a new video sitting in my channel queue for two weeks, just waiting for me to hit “publish” but it feels insignificant and dishonest to my emotions right now to share that. What does feel honest is to speak to this moment and how I am feeling. My site and brand is a place for creative arts and I know I’ll know when it feels right to share that with you again…and maybe this post is more of a journal entry to myself as I type this out. I truly believe that writing down our thoughts and speaking them out loud are a great way to formulate what we think and believe. So I want to speak out loud here.
What happened to George Floyd is appalling. It was wrong. It was brutal.
I will say again what I spoke to in my instagram post this week.
Black lives matter to me.
This moment is about talking specifically about the Black community and understanding how the system we have set up has many inequities.
It’s a complicated topic. It has hundreds of years of layers upon layers that can’t be answered in a few posts, or in a few weeks. And I don’t think anyone thinks that it can be. But when I hear things like real racism was in the past, or I can’t believe anyone is still racist, or I don’t know any racists. I know those statements don’t reflect the world we live in. Racism exists in all cultures. And racism against our Black sisters and brothers still exists today. I’m sure I have said and done things that have perpetuated this and I am learning to understand and change that.
It can feel overwhelming when a problem is so large that we think, how can I help? What can I do? Everyone comes at this from different angles and life perspectives. Some choose to donate money to organizations that promote anti-racism, some have been quietly doing outreach work in minority communities for years, some help take action by speaking up on their social media platforms which have a large reach, some don’t personally know a Black person or person of color in their day to day life and are trying to internalize that and think how they can help make a change. It’s so very complicated. Even writing this post feels complicated, and yet it doesn’t.
It feels like now is the time that we can have these really hard conversations—or at least I hope it is. That we can create open dialogue to truly, really talk about how we have arrived at this point, to discuss history, to look at data and numbers in different communities to understand what is happening. To consider where we have or haven’t evolved. It’s a time to share our feelings and emotions from all sides, because emotions are relevant too, they are part of our human experience.
Validating someone’s experience is a huge first step toward change. When I listen to the heartbreaking stories from our Black sisters and brothers (and other groups in our country) it shifts my perspective. It helps me understand what it’s like to walk in some else’s shoes. Isn’t that where the path to empathy starts? Understanding someone else’s viewpoint and validating their experience? I know that’s how I feel when I share my stories with others. I want to be heard. I want others to say Yes. That’s real. I can understand why you feel that way.
There are many stories, podcasts, articles and information that have been shared these last few weeks, with personal accounts of how racism still exists in our communities.
If you’re not sure where to start:
• This article written by a Black man who grew up in a predominantly white community is very perspective-shifting. I shared it with my siblings and parents last week and it really hit a nerve, as I could see myself in many of his stories and internalized how I can do better. I highly recommend the article, Reflections from a Token Black Friend, by Ramesh A Nagarajah.
• And If you would like a very open-minded podcast discussion about this current moment, data points, how to have open dialogue, and racism, I highly recommend the podcast episode Can We Pull Back From The Brink, on the Making Sense podcast by Sam Harris. I have listened to his podcast for years and really appreciate his thoughtful analysis of life. He has an ability to speak up on both sides of the issues and point out the real problems.
So where does racism exist?
Some racism is blatant and obvious and seen on horrible videos and through hateful words. Some racism exists in the inequities of opportunities for the Black community in education and jobs. Some of it is seen in the fine-line verbiage of laws and amendments that exist in our country’s framework.
And some of it exists within us.
It’s hard to read these things and look inside and ask how we can improve.
We can start by asking ourselves some of these questions:
– When telling a story, do I mention someone’s race when it is irrelevant to the story?
– Are there phrases I say that have racial undertones, that I’ve never considered and could stop using?
– Do I have biases that I frame people by without even knowing it?
– Do I point out all the mistakes someone else has made without considering all perspectives that have led to them being in that situation?
– Can I give people the benefit of the doubt?
That last one is huge. SO huge.
THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT.
This is something that I truly try to live my life by. And I am far from perfect. I mess up all the time, and discuss with my husband, and try to see things differently. This entire post is part of a self-introspection for me, while also speaking to the topic.
It seems that lately we are quick to assume the worst of each other. When we see someone on the opposite political spectrum from us, we size them up. And we assume they embody all of the bigoted, or ultra woke things that we think the other side is. We spout off things like:
Religious people are crazy.
Liberals are insane.
Why are we so quick to put each other in boxes?
When we know in real life that we are complex humans with fluid ideas and evolving thoughts?
We’ve allowed little room for people to sit in different places of a discussion at once, or room for each of us to change. We’re in a cat and mouse game of “gotcha” moments, trying to cancel and call each other out. And social media complicates all of it. We have stopped researching and looking deeper into a story or issue before we simply reshare or retweet, or before we consider someone’s tone in a post or tweet (which is hard to do in social media). We have stopped giving people and stories the benefit of the doubt.
The truth is, we are complex humans. We are layered.
Some good people have bad parts and make horrible mistakes, and some bad people have good parts and can show compassion. It’s complicated, and then it’s not.
This quote by Anthony Bourdain really struck me this week:
“I used to believe that the human race as a whole was basically a few steps above wolves. That given the slightest change in circumstances, we would all, sooner or later, tear each other to shreds. That we were, at root, self-interested, cowardly, envious and potentially dangerous in groups. I have since come to believe…after many meals with many different people in many, many different places…that though there is no shortage of people who would do us harm, we are essentially good.
That the world is, in fact, filled with mostly good and decent people who are simply doing the best they can. Everybody, it turns out, is proud of their food (when they have it). They enjoy sharing it with others (if they can). They love their children. They like a good joke… Sitting at the table has allowed me a privileged perspective and access that others, looking principally for ‘the story,’ do not, I believe, always get.
People feel free, with a goofy American guy who has expressed interest only in their food and what they do for fun, to tell stories about themselves…to let their guard down, to be and to reveal, on occasion, their truest selves… People, wherever they live, are not statistics. They are not abstractions… I’m not saying that sitting down with people and sharing a plate is the answer to world peace. Not by a long shot. But it can’t hurt.” – Anthony Bourdain
If we could start by giving someone the benefit of the doubt, and realizing that we have more in common, than not…we could go a lot further as humans.
And the other beautiful part of that point, is that it’s never too late to change who we are and to improve. If you have felt yourself pushing back, or have made mistakes that you aren’t proud of in this discussion, that doesn’t need to define you. We are all evolving.
And speaking up, or saying you’re sorry, or trying to help change your own heart is always welcome. Are we going to continue making mistakes on all sides of the discussion? Yes. Can we give people the benefit of the doubt? Yes. I hope so. If you are working from your heart, from a place of love, the goodness will show through. There is space for all of us. At least that’s a dream most of us hold.
This was a long post.
And a bit rambling.
But thank you for letting me write this down and share.
As I said earlier on here, writing down your thoughts is powerful. I have done this many times with my own thoughts on religion and it has helped me really sort out what I think and feel.
I encourage anyone who’s heart weighs heavy right now to write down their thoughts, to speak it out loud. You don’t need to be a “writer” to share your perspective and voice. Speak what’s inside of you.
Lots of love to all of you.
Lots of love our Black brothers and sisters right now.
Thank you for your honest and reflective thoughts. I, for one, appreciate that you are honoring the heaviness and pain of this moment and sharing it on your platform. As a maker who has spent my 30-year career fighting for educational equity, I am thankful you are taking the time to understand where you as a white person, fit into this moment. I am doing the same. #blacklivesmatter
Really beautifully said. Thank you for sharing your perspective.
Before you get too twisted up over the Wendys deal, you might want to look into the details there. The real tragedy is that is was burned down. People have lost their jobs because some dude who was too drunk, resisted arrest and attacked an officer and set off another social justice mob. Or should the police have let the guy drive off and potentially kill how many people?!?! All lives matter to me. Being a decent human being matters. Being a responsible citizen matters. Being a kind person in your day-to-day life matters to me. Your rage doesn’t give you a pass to destroy property, businesses, lives. You speak of others speaking out too quickly about people who think differently. The same goes for the facts. Get all the facts first. You commit the crimes, you are are going to pay the price and often that is a heavy one. Additionally, do a little more digging. So much of what we are seeing is being orchestrated. The citizens of this country are the pawns. Sadly, some are falling too easily into that designated role. Time to wake up. Someone is pulling the puppet strings. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated.
CD, You’re entitled to your opinion. Here’s mine. Being over the legal limit, resisting arrest, running from the police do not warrant being shot (in the back, no less) and killed. I’d encourage you to reflect on why you feel the real tragedy is the loss of a building rather than Rayshard Brooks’ life and the problematic systems that got us where we are today.
Dana, thank you for your allyship and for providing resources for those of us who are open to it. I’ve enjoyed following you since your early days.
CD, I agree.
Hi there, Yes. It is a tragedy that a building got burned down and people have lost jobs. I pointed to that story as being horrible on all sides of the situation. I agree that the incident in Atlanta on Friday is more detailed than it first appears. I have been following up and trying to understand both sides of what occurred. My heart weighs heavy for everyone in our country right now. There is unrest and turmoil on many sides.
CD, you obviously have some strong feelings about this. I was struck first by the fact that you focused on one aspect of Dana’s post, instead of the overall content of the piece–her thoughts, vulnerability, self-reflection, and exhortation to give people the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps on a re-read these things will connect more with you.
And of this situation, the killing in the Wendy’s parking lot, I was a bit jolted by a couple of things you said. “The real tragedy is that is [sic] was burned down.” “All lives matter to me.” Those two comments don’t seem to jibe, and you seem more concerned with the property loss than the loss of life, or even the entire perspective of the piece. I’m sorry for that.
To give you the benefit of the doubt, I will say that I wish you to stay safe and stay well.
As someone who lives in GA, I can tell you must either not see the poverty cycle that fed into this incident, or you are choosing to not understand that there’s something between lawlessness and fatal use of force. It was ENTIRELY possible to have ended the confrontation that happened with the police and Rayshard Brooks, without his death being the end result. If you believe the death of a human is an acceptable use of force, for public drunkenness (likely fed into by circumstances none of us understand, since no person with healthy life situations wanders around drunk in public in the night) then I would suggest you examine how you would want your own child, brother, or friend to be treated, were they to find themselves in such a sad, down and out situation. Rayshard Brooks was executed by the police with no opportunity to have a fair trial. He may have been acting criminally, but in this country, that’s supposed to mean he gets arrested, and a day in court. Those police officers are meant to protect his right to that, as much as they are to protect any other citizen. He was not attempting to use fatal force against them, and they brought a gun to a one sided drunken brawl that didn’t need to end that way period.
Black people in America are hurt, and tired, and have been begging for us to listen to the unfairness they are subjected to for so long, that it’s absolutely no surprise that their pain is turning into protests that we can’t ignore. If you’re are only seeing property damage, and not the energy of millions of pained hearts concentrating into bursts of agony that may incidentally damage things as a manifestation of that pain, I’m sorry for you, because you are only seeing a small, insignificant part of a story, that is about so much more than stuff.
So true we must not jump to conclusions too fast. From my perspective I can’t equate burning down buildings and stealing items with hard working citizens as making any sense. Wrong is wrong and what happened was a tragedy. With all the killing of police officers it certainly makes them feel on edge and a weapon pointed at them will cause reactions as well. I guess they didn’t have time to ask if they were in danger as they often are. The man should have let them take him in. He acted badly the Police were trying to keep him from hurting others by driving drunk. Many innocent people are killed by drunk drivers
Thank you for sharing what I know many of us are feeling. We all must take the needed time to sit with this and not just try to push through it so we don’t have to truly deal with all of the pain. I do miss your bubbly self but also appreciate you not posting as if everything is normal. Trust your gut and when you are ready we will be ready.
Thank you for your post! I feel, as you do, it isn’t right to share in the self-promotion way right now. I have begun creating art, sitting in this uncomfortable time and drawing what I feel. I am attempting to visually express white supremacy and white privilege, and how I have benefited, what it felt like before I knew, and after I knew. And, it is hard.
Decenter myself. Really listen. Donate. Amplify Black Voices. Shop Black businesses. Read about Greenwood. The Great Migration. And on and on.
Take care of yourself, rest, and we will continue to fight for our Black brothers and sisters.
Thank you for this very thoughtful post, Dana. I appreciate all the care and self-reflection I see here.
No rambling whatsoever Dana, thank you for speaking from the heart and sharing it with your readers. Definitely BLACK LIVES MATTER
Thank you for speaking up and encouraging all to do a self check on this important issue. I appreciate you using your creative space as a platform to encourage change and growth. It has an influence. Much appreciation and support!
Ok, here are my thoughts on the matter. First, We live in South Louisiana. I am shocked that so many of you are now feeling that this is the first time you have ever hear of Racism. Living in south Louisiana we don’t feel racist our best friends are black we do everything together weddings, birthday, funerals, anniversary, vacations and more. Not only that but we have 2 nieces married to black men and 1 niece married to a Cuban man. We love our lives the way it is. I don’t feel sorry for anyone of color white, black, yellow, red whatever if you do a crime you need to pay for your mistakes if you are bad you are going to do bad things if you are good you do good things I don’t feel the color of your skin tells you to do the thing you do. Another thing I shop a lot online and don’t know the color of the person I am buying from I am not going to profile what I want to buy by just buying from people of color. I think if you put in the time and you have a product I want to buy I am not going to search to see what color the person is before I buy it I going to buy that product. Sorry I was so “wordy” about this but life goes on and this to will pass.
Thank you for sharing that Roberta. I don’t think this is the first time we are hearing about racism, but it’s a moment when the country as a collective is talking about it. And many are hurt and expressing frustration. My heart hurts for everything that is going on. Hurt for the Black community who still experience racism and are sharing their stories and are looking for change, hurt for people who’s businesses have been looted and may never recover from that, hurt for the many police offers who are decent people and are being vilified. It’s complicated on all sides. I am approaching it all with an open mind, studying data points and facts, and trying to give opposing views the benefit of the doubt before I’m quick to shut down ideas.
I appreciate this post so much right now. Everyone right now is focused on their hurt and the anger. I’m a detail-oriented person. For those who feel that their voices haven’t been heard or their needs have not been met, what is your vision of the world you want to live in. Be specific. Make your details actionable.
My vision is that policemen who do not follow the rules of their training, be held accountable and taken away from any interaction with the public. Those policemen who put their lives on the line every day to help and protect us should be appreciated not thrown in with image of the bad policemen. Generalizations are immoral and unethical and are fueling a lot of the anger.
I’d like to see Police recruitment in communities who feel underserved and mistreated— maybe starting in Junior high.
I’d like to see each person take advantage of opportunities they already have and ask for help when they need it.
I’d love to see mentoring programs in neighborhoods. One conversation of love and encouragement can change the trajectory of a person’s whole life. (It did mine.)
Families matter— how can we strengthen them? (however you define them)
I’d ask each person to accept personal responsibility for where they start to where they wind up.
Lastly, I read an article about Former civil rights activist Bob Woodson that I appreciated. He wrote about the neighborhood being a transformative and empowering place. Action over words.
Love and respect to all.
These are wonderful ideas. I love your approach. Yes. I would love to hear action points and ideas and real ways to help the neighborhoods who need resources, mentoring programs, trade programs, ways to strength families. Keep sharing these ideas Lili
We have a real chance right now to bring sides to a table to talk about action. It all starts from respectful conversation. I’m really hoping some good can come from the events of the past weeks. Thanks, Dana, for caring for your followers enough to open that conversation with thoughtfulness and open ears.
Thank you sweet girl! I totally agree. My mother went to work when I was 8 yrs old. She hired black ladies over time who were wonderful and have me the love I missed with my own mother. One black lady even saved from an assault by a white white boy who invaded my home. My mother rejected me as a young woman but GOD sent a wonderful black lady who stepped in. She had no children so we called our mother and my children loved her as their grandmother. She encouraged my husband to become a minister. We BLESS the day she came into our lives. She taught us so much and we revere her forever. People of all races need to come together in love and need to heal this world. GOD bless you DANA!
Also from south Louisiana…this is not the first time to see, hear, and feel racism. I’m old enough to remember “whites only ” water fountain and “blacks only water fountain. That was cruel. Although home was Louisiana, we were a military family. My parents raised us color blind. My white officer dad flew with many black officers. These brave soldiers were there for each other. They had each others back. Period. No yelling, screaming, looting, burning and violence. My parents were smart people in a time of true divide in our country. To them we are ALL one under God.
Brilliantly and beautifully said. I really appreciate your post, and it is my very most favorite of any I have read on this matter. 💗
Thank you for your post! Black lives matter to me too. I am a white girl married to a black man and we have 4 children together. My husband is the first black man that I ever dated and my thoughts about racism have definitely changed since knowing him. 20 years ago I didn’t really think racism was a problem. There were a few black kids in my class in high school and I never saw them treated any differently. My family and I never cared about what people looked like or where they were from. So that all equated in my 20-year-old mind that there wasn’t a problem anymore. Then, I met my husband and my experiences have changed. We are followed around in stores and constantly asked if we need help. The same stores and associates that have never once followed me when I was alone. We have had our mailbox dug up, a decapitated rabbit on our front porch. The head was left also. People stare and whisper the whole time we are eating out. My husband’s parents were pushed into a different neighborhood back in the ’80s when they were having a house built. The builder kept giving them all kinds of excuses for why they couldn’t build in the neighborhood they wanted. And now, of course, their neighborhood is almost 100% black families and the neighborhood they wanted is almost completely white families. And I even see it in the sewing world. I have tested for several pattern companies and rarely are the black/brown girls featured or even included at all in the publications. It does seem like some of the companies are trying to change that. Hopefully, it will continue beyond just a week or two. And yes, we do say things without realizing they are racist and without meaning anything by it. Things that have become “normal” for us to say or think. My husband has pointed out times when I have said something that I didn’t mean anything by it but once he pointed it out to me, I totally saw what he meant. Like your example of including the race in a story that race had no bearing on the story. Thank you for taking time to try to see things through others’ eyes. Just because people haven’t seen it firsthand, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
Thank you for this thoughtful response to Dana’s “Heavy Heart” journal. I am reading and writing several months after the incidents took place that poked at and gratefully prodded Dana to have the courage to write down and then share her thoughts with her community. I am still haunted by those horrific days and weeks that drove many of us to look deeply into our souls and have those honest and courageous conversations with ourselves engaging in thoughtful self-reflection, asking ourselves how have we arrived at this historical/hysterical juncture in our lives living in a “free” democracy.
I am so grateful for people like yourself willing to tell your story so I can listen with my heart and reflect on the pain that you and your family experience in your daily lives by people who think they are doing the right thing. I am appalled and shamed that after all these years I still don’t know how to become more active, to influence more for change so your children won’t have to walk cautiously wherever they go.
I too remember my own sadness and shock as a young Navy wife coming from a ‘liberal’ New England community seeing the separate water fountains clearly marked in Pensacola and feeling my heart heavy with knowing I should do or say something but not having the resilience to take action. I am ashamed to say I also have been one of those white women who pulled her purse close to her chest when a black person stepped in line next to me. But, I too am a white woman, who as an educator chose to work in inner city schools advocating for more equity in education for our communities of color who had been forced to endure the modern “chains” that poverty inflicts. How do I answer to that dichotomy and how do I speak and act with honesty, truth, and empathy for change? These are my thoughts that burden my soul in these times.
I am grateful that I had time to slow down (thanks maybe to a global pandemic) and have had time to listen to the chatter in my heart and reflect on my biases and privilege as these issues surface and challenge us collectively to take thoughtful action.
Dana you are a gift! Your talents go deeper than your skills as a creative seamstress and I am so grateful you took the time to write from your heart and give us all a forum to express ourselves with other like-minded creative souls- even when some of us disagree and all of us have diverse perspectives. This conversation is what the “world needs [right] now”. Thank you fir sharing your talents…and especially your heart.
The benefit of the doubt, something that all of us should be giving each other. I have a unique perspective on this point… I will elaborate later. After watching the video from Georgia, I can’t understand why the officer involved couldn’t have just walked this man to his sisters house. At the time that they found this man, he was ASLEEP in his car, he was not driving, and was very respectful to the officers. Shooting this man was not justified in any way. I am the mother of a son who is an FBI agent, and I too worry about his safety every day. He does not wear a uniform, but had had to deal with the worst of the worst human kind has to offer( and none of them have been black). This current atmosphere that brands all law enforcement as unfair is also not right. The benefit of the doubt door should swing both ways. Please don’t brand all law enforcement as bad, defunding the police is also not a good idea. We are already getting a taste of anarchy in some places, do we want that everywhere? As I say, be careful what you wish for. I belong to a group “Coming to the Table “, we are people both black and white who are working to bridge the divide caused by slavery and racism. Please check us out. TOGETHER, we can and will make the world a better place for our children, no matter the color of their skins!
Dana, thank you for acknowledging it’s a time of reflection and not time for ‘business as usual.’
Simply beautiful post. I’m a white Bostonian of “a certain age” who, personally, grew up with all of the advantages, which enabled me to get a first-rate education and enjoy a successful career. That’s me, not the average Black person. Does racism still exist? Hell, yes! How about the Black woman ahead of me in line at an upscale department store, who was asked to show her license before using her credit card? When I reached the counter just after her, I, too, presented my license along with my credit card, assuming this was a new store policy. “Oh, no,” the store employee said when she saw my license, “we don’t need that.” This isn’t ancient history; it happened three months ago, just before our local shutdown. BTW, when I asked the store associate why the women ahead of me had had to produce her license, she denied asking for it, but my ears work just fine, as I told the associate. Imagine, if you were Black, having to put up with indignities like this. It may seem small, but somehow I doubt it’s the only one that women has been exposed to.
Black lives matter. When I write that, I’m not devaluing non-Black lives. I’m stating a fact, which, to me, means this: Black lives matter… as much as non-Black lives. “Black lives matter” needs saying because for far too long, we (non-Blacks) haven’t acted as if they do.
Thank you for your heartfelt post. I agree totally that it is time to pay attention and care about all human beings. Black lives matter and so many have not honored that in the past. It’s time for a lot of reflection and finally some action. We all need to learn to just love each other. Thank you for being a true gift and beautiful example to our world. Take good care!
Thank you for speaking out – and for speaking from the heart and with complexity.
I am so grateful that you shared how you’re feeling. It takes such courage to reach inside, examine what you find and try to make some sense of it. I truly identified with you when you said that you are usually so bubbly and eager to share new projects, and that you had a video all set to send but just couldn’t push that button. I love sewing and creating; yet right now, it’s so hard to even walk into my sewing room. We are being wrenched apart by pain….all of us. I remind myself, not always successfully, that everything has its season. And right now may not be the time for bubbly and for fun projects. We would be a sad creation if we didn’t step back, reflect and determine some way that we can make a difference. That is what we are called for today. Again, I appreciate how you’ve shared. You’ve reaffirmed where my heart is and that there is hope for us all.
Wow, I was so very touched by all I have read here and God bless all of you. I would have a struggle telling how I feel, but so many pored their hearts out and it was just so inspiring and beautiful.,
I was in tears after reading Dana’s post. I too live in Ga. from Baltimore, Md Yes I pretty much grew up in a racial divide that I never understood. There was more a fear then anything else, today I have friends that are black and I love them like family. Thank God, both our children have a very good understanding and respect.
Black Lives Matter indeed for our family, but we all matter too. God bless everyone, we are His children !!
All lives matter. Mine matters, yours matter. We all matter no difference what our race is. Or our sex. Or our age! I’ll say it again. All lives matter.
All lives can’t matter until black lives matter. Yes all lives matter, but white people aren’t the ones oppressed.
That’s what quite a few people seem to be missing…..I keep hearing that “all lives may matter”, but when one group of people is targeted, do we simply ignore that and walk away? We can continue to say, “all lives matter”, but that doesn’t make it reality.
Regardless of what you think…if your skin is white, you’re privileged. It unlikely that anyone is harassing you because of your skin color.
That’s what needs changing. All lives TRULY need to matter. We need to see the differences, acknowledge them (not just pretend they aren’t there), and fight for equality for every single person, regardless of what color or nationality they are.
There needs to be equal opportunity for everyone, education, employment, basic human rights that many of us take for granted.
That’s when all lives will truly matter. When we change the system so that everyone feels safe.
Thank you so much for your comment. You will receive good and negative reviews, but as a black woman, I appreciate your compassion, courage, and strength to speak up and be sensitive. Yes, all lives matter when black lives matter. There is another way for cops to handle POC and that way is with human decency. People are missing the point that human decency is above the right to shoot someone or slowly murder them in cold blood because you have a badge. I hope that more people are educated on the great lengths of injustice against POC. BIPOC is in the streets globally because we are dehumanized over any petty issue, on-going bias, discrimination etc. Again, I say thank you, because when our white sisters and brothers stand up for us they get attacked too. We are humans. We are extremely abused through the criminal justice system, employment system, health care system, education system etc in this society. It has to stop.
Thank you Keshela for sharing your comments here ❤️❤️ I hope we are all trying to do better and look deeper and consider how we can make a difference.
Thank you Dana for your generosity of wisdom and kindness. Your thoughts and feelings certainly echo my own and many others during this ……… whatever this is. History will reflect on how,the world at large, dealt with these monumental challenges. Hopefully kindly.
I looking forward to getting back in a creative mood with your wonderful patterns and ideas. My new granddaughter is due on July 15th so I’ll make some baby hats because it’s cool here in Australia.
Thank you once again, take care and be safe.
Thank you, Dana, for sharing your heart with us and your desire to help affect change. It takes all of us working together if there is to be any improvement.
Thank you Anita for your words ❤️❤️❤️
What a lovely surprise. I came here after seeing a couple of your tutorials and I bought a pattern. As I got to looking around your site I came across this entry. Thank you for your heartfelt post and for speaking up with the right message. The first step in doing better is realizing we don’t have to be free of racism to be anti-racist. We just have to keep doing the work.
Roberta, although you may have felt your post was “wordy”, it was your final 8 words which were most reflective. This too will pass is the sentiment that far too many individuals carry within their hearts. You’re correct, life will go on. As it should given it’s the way the world works. However, when someone refers to individuals (in 2020) as “black, yellow, red, white, or whatever”, it seems to me life is standing still. Stating “life goes on” is no different than saying “just get over it”. “Our best friends are black” or “My kids/grandkids are mixed” has to be on a plaque somewhere as it is the go to catch phrase whenever an issue of bigotry arises. I nor anyone can fault you for your opinion. Having in-laws from ethnic backgrounds cannot possibly prepare nor educate you on what it must truly mean to acknowledge, accept, and show empathy for the descendants of one of the most oppressed tribes known to mankind. Day after day, night after night, year after year enduring horrific conditions, humiliation, sexual assaults, murder, false imprisonment, forced sterilizations, torture, and so much more no matter man, woman, or child from 1619 till 2020 and beyond yet you say “this too will pass”. Bless your heart, you don’t appear to know any better.
Thank you for speaking out! I too am not ready to see people going about life as usual online. It doesn’t feel right. I know that many have chosen not to speak out because of the emotional energy it requires not only to speak out, but also to manage and respond to all kinds of comments that come from people as a result of sharing this type of thing. And sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it—if anyone’s mind can ever be changed because people seem so heardhearted and entrenched in their beliefs. But deep down I know that people can change and that these types of posts as well as conversations with family members and friends CAN and DO help, because they helped to change my mind on these issues years ago.
Thank you for sharing this and using your platform for advocacy.
I’ve followed your blog for a long time, Dana! I love your creativity and fun personality. I respectfully and humbly offer a different viewpoint than that being proclaimed by CNN, influencers, and democrats. I, too, am deeply burdened by what is happening in America right now. I am watching many of our freedoms (especially Free Speech) get stripped away. I believe that Black lives matter and love my Black neighbors, but I cannot get behind the agenda of Black Lives Matter, which is a political organization. Their mission statement has been scrubbed from their home page. Their goals include dismantling the nuclear family, promote the killing of black people before they’re born, getting rid of police….their movement has only caused more division and even more hatred, a continued victim mentality instead of one of empowerment and working hard and grabbing hold of opportunities, shame for having a certain color skin, not to mention many police officers quitting their jobs because they feel so threatened and unappreciated. Do we “defund” education when we come across teachers who aren’t representing the profession well? No, we work on getting the bad ones out and working to improve the system (unions get in the way of that work). The United States is a the land of opportunity. We have more foreigners trying to relocate here than any other country. We should be coming together and taking a stand against the anarchy, violence and cancel culture. For a different perspective on everything going on these days, here is a video posted by a black woman who speaks the truth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F8PeZ0d64I&t=5s
so much for speaking your truth and being aware
And for willing to learn. Thank you for encouraging others to speak about matters that make for being uncomfortable. Thank you for expressing compassion. I am a black woman and your words are appreciated and hopeful. Thank you.
Thank you Gail for sharing ❤️❤️
all of the bigoted, or ultra woke things that we think the other side is. We spout off things like:
The above phrase may show my ignorance or is maybe an accidental typo in your well thought out post. Please explain to me “the ultra woke things” what is ultra woke? Otherwise I agree and identify with your heavy heart.
I came here today, after enjoying one of your youtube videos, and found myself deeply touched by your post, as well as with the eloquent way you poured your heart out. There are a myriad of complex reasons why I found your post so meaningful, one of which is I see in you myself forty years ago. I want to say to you, empathy is always right (you were not rambling), and silence is acceptance. Thank you for refusing to remain silent, and for putting your intellect and empathy to use in a way that will touch others.
Words of wisdom that were given to me by one of my beloved mentors (who during the course of a hate crime was beaten to death) when I would feel heavy hearted and the task seemed so huge, are these: Fight the war, not the person. As more and more people with hearts and minds like yours stand beside one another as allies with and for those who are the targets of bias, hatred, bigotry, oppression, and violence we will continue heart by heart, mind by mind to win the war in spite of the persons in positions of power and leadership that set examples to the contrary.
You have my respect and admiration for not continuing “business as usual.”
Black lives matter.
Well said x
Oh, Dana, I have been a follower of yours for a long time and I love your videos. As a Black maker, it is so heartening to see you share your thoughts and vulnerability. It would have been easy for you to just pop up another video and pretend like this didn’t happen. It makes me feel so seen that you posted this. I will continue to follow you in whatever you do. Thanks for being an ally, Sis.
Thank you Shannan. I really appreciate you sharing that 🙂
I am glad that I read what you thought about what bad things happen when one is a racist, What you feel about what happened to George Floyd last month, I feel that too. Black or any color, we are all God’s creation. I wish I could say more.
What you said was perfect, Lina. Perfect and beautiful.
You are my joy during this tough time. I am a novice seamstress and your videos keep me going. Please know you are appreciated and your honest and heartfelt post is appreciated. Hugs to you and your family.
I really like what you posted . Me and my children had a great discussion about your post. Keep educating!
Thank you, Dana. Beautifully said. You didn’t have to post your thoughts and it says a lot about your character that you did and that you risked the disapproval of your fans and followers. Thank you for speaking out!
Dana, Thanks for taking a pause in business to script this, what I believe to be, a well thought out and transparent “Open Letter.” As I am a relatively new follower of yours, I happened upon your site during this time of social distancing and quarantine. You have made being closed in bearable with your beautiful tutorials and patterns I have upped my skills and even bought a new sewing machine because you inspired me! Thank you for that! Secondly as a black woman I cannot thank you enough for your vulnerability and the risk that you took to share your post. Without going into details; thank you for your voice and not your silence. You mentioned perhaps this may be a journal entry that you are sharing ~ thanks for sharing because journals are typically tucked away as a private record but your boldness in sharing, to me, is reflective of your personal convictions and your desire to understand, educate, promote equality/fairness and seek reconciliation for those who are marginalized. Thanks for saying my life as a black woman matters to you!
Well, I didn’t expect that. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I’m a Welsh gal, living in the UK. it isn’t just your country where there is racism. It’s alive and well here too – in all its forms.
I heard someone say the other day that it’s not enough to take an anti racist viewpoint, as a white person . We must now be prepared to be vocal and call it out, recognising, as you said, in your article, that it is likely that , being white, we have also been complicit in perpetuating racism. I am still learning, how deep it is rooted, in our culture. Thank you again. Jane
Thank you Rhonda. I really appreciate you sharing that 🙂
Please hit publish. Your blog videos are a genuine ray of sunshine! We all need more sunshine, especially now.
Thank you for being real and sharing from your heart.
Thank you so much for writing this post and taking the time to use your platform to hopefully reach and teach others. YOU ARE AMAZING!
Bless you and your family,
Hey, Dana! This was my first visit to your website. Wow, great post! Very insightful and thought provoking. These are strange, and sometimes frightful, times we are experiencing. Yet, there are issues that we, as humans, have stuck our heads in the sand about for far too long. Shifting mind sets is difficult, but not impossible, to do. To be willing to listen, really listen, and be open to truly hearing another point of view challenges us to turn off our own “noise” and give credence to the words and feelings of someone else. Walk a mile in their shoes and you’ll want yours back, so to speak. It is so unfortunate that there are other hateful forces working against the grain of change. I’m speaking to the violence perpetuated by forces whose sole purpose it is to instigate havoc and instill fear and division. We need to be able to see past all that and realize the true purpose of the peaceful protesters. I see you. I want to understand and I want to be mindful of how not to be complacent going forward.
It’s great that you shared this. Now, let’s go the core of the issue: did you come here to write a note about racism and still voted for a Republican? If you voted Trump and Republican down ballot don’t be writing stuff here. You’re part of the problem. The racism That’s all. Thanks
I think you need to relearn YOUR history… Obama causes racism to become prominent again.. Not a republican.. I am republican, vote straight “down the ballot” and there is NO RACISM IN MY HEART!
Appears YOU are racist to parties (DEM and REP).. Hm?
It appears that you seem to think that black lives matter more than any other. I feel that YOU are appearing to be racist with the comments that you made. If you really want to push something then PUSH THAT ALL LIVES MATTER. No one is better than any other person on this earth. No race, religion etc. is better than another. I grew up being taught that there are choices in life and you alone make good or bad choices. I made good choices and I am NO more privileged, NOR is anyone more privileged then the next. You need to change your wording and stop pointing out RACE here.. WE ARE ALL PEOPLE.. In Gods eyes there is no color and THAT IS THE PROBLEM..COLOR…NOT PEOPLE.. I consider people for who they are NOT based on color.. THE WORLD WOULD BE BETTER IF WE MADE THAT CHOICE.. PEOPLE NOT COLOR..
Hello Good Morning from Chicago i have been following you for some time now you have inspired me in so many ways this post which i love has touch my Heart much love #Blacklivesmatter #AlllivesMatters
Thank you for using your platform to be real! Each day we are given new chances to make life more meaning and we must pray and live life like today may be our last! Let’s love and cherish each other more!!!!! Thank you!!
I feel such gratitude for your words. These are truly sad times for our country and, hopefully, with raised awareness, we will open our hearts to true beginnings and true love for our brothers and sisters. We are all in the family of humanity.
It is with shear luck that I happened upon your website. After not sewing for a very long time, I joined a local group and began making masks. While perusing the internet, I found YOU. Last week, I made my granddaughters skirts by watching your video. I am excited about this and want thank you for your amazing tutorials.
I will keep sewing with your assistance!
What a beautiful surprise, Dana.
I was coming back for a simple pattern but what I found was much more inspiring. I can mirror myself in your words – the most important to me here is the idea we can leave behind whatever we did wrong before and want to change in our own attitudes and speech and inspire others to improve themselves too.
The change in mentalities takes time, that’s all.
If we wish to live in a safe, fair, informed and happy society, we must count everyone in. This means access to good schools, to growing up in peace, to health care, to respect in equality, to feeling welcomed and an insider in our own community.
Only then will each community thrive and be happier and safe for all.
I’m in Europe not the USA but this is a worldwide cause and I’m so happy it’s on the table – fundamental respect for each and every person regardless of race, gender, beliefs and sexual orientation.
How should any human society become better if not promoting each and every one of its members?
Thank you, Dana, from the heart, for your positive message to others in whatever you talk or write about,
ALL lives matter and if that offends someone then LIVES matter. George Floyd was a criminal, thief, robber. He contributed to his own demise by his criminal actions. When your child breaks a rule, family or otherwise, are there not consequences for that behavior? Anyone supporting this BLM behavior needs to step back and think about the behavior. By all their destructive behavior, how many businesses did they destroy – businesses within their own community; businesses that were providing employment in their community. Are these supporters going to clean up the streets they trashed or expect someone with white guilt to clean up their mess. My heart is angry that so many people are using a criminal to be their role model. My Polish, Italian, Irish ancestors were brought here as indentured servents, they WORKED to make a better life for the selves. They didn’t rely on others to keep them dependent, they made themselves strong and independent and it was not by robbing, looting or setting places on fire.
Thank you Dana. Your post touched my heart and I respect what you wrote and are doing. Don’t listen to the haters comments here. They are examples that racism still exists. I have also been devastated by what has happened and trying to continue to hope for change and the best. Thank you again.
Thank you for posting this. Regardless of what anyone says… black lives matter to me as well. It isn’t simply a movement or a “phrase” to repeat, but it should be engrained in us. People often pin point on the flaws of the movement or the flaws of a sample of the population… but they are missing the point. Racism has always persisted and it won’t change unless we speak up. Thanks for showing your courage!
Wow, beautiful generous share here.
Thanks for being real. vulnerable. and in the quandary of it all.
May we all continue to grow together; One people ~ where we can move mountains ( if we need to ;-))
You are the best. Your tutorials are easy to follow and I have made tons of simple skirts for Operation Christmas Child. Now I am making the scrunchies to go with each skirt. THANK YOU.
Dana, I ended up on your site after seeing your excellent tutorial on how to make bias tape. I’m a very inexperienced seamster, but have been learning what I need to know to make masks for family and friends. Little did I know that I would find this thoughtful and heartfelt post on Black Lives Matter and racism in America. And the many kind and thought-provoking comments from your readers was a bonus. I don’t usually expect to get emotional visiting sewing sites, but THANK YOU.
I love the tutorials and want to sew, do you do sells for used but functional sewing machines especially Lyric. Ann in Uganda
Your honest, brave and necessary words are appreciated. White people need to call their cousins in, to help them grapple with what we understand to be the Black experience in this country–so entirely different from ours! And we need to amplify Black voices so that they can be the ones speaking for themselves. But ultimately, if we do not speak out, then nothing will change. Good job, Sister. I’m proud of you for taking a courageous stand in a way that could potentially damage your business. You did good.
I am new to your website so I am reading this many many months later than when it was written. This was POWERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL.
Your thoughts are so beautiful. Yes every one should be treated with equality. Please say no to disparage.. Love from Kashmir