White People, Reach Out to Your Black Friends Right Now

Me in California this summer

This picture above, this is me: a white woman in America. And this post is to other white people in the country we all call home. Because, white people, we have a responsibility to our neighbors of color in this very moment, and we cannot let that responsibility fall away.

White people, I urge you to reach out to your black friends right now and ask them if they are doing OK. Ask them how you can support them. And then be ready to listen. REALLY LISTEN.

You might hear things that challenge you. That’s OK. You might hear things that make you uncomfortable. That’s OK. You might hear things that make you cry. That’s OK.

I just had a deep conversation with a dear friend who is black this morning, and she challenged me. She helped me understand context in a more profound way, and how her daily experience differs so drastically from mine. My privilege is real, and our conversation of love reflected it back to me. I could not hide from it. I needed to hear these things, because only then can I acknowledge how concrete racism still is in our country.

What we’re seeing in the news today—the riots and protests and calls for justice for George Floyd—this goes far beyond the justified anger against and fear of today’s police (some of whom support the calls for justice, too, and some of them are my friends).

This goes back generations.

And while we ALL need breaks from the news and the world and life, we cannot keep burying our heads in the sand if we want to come out of this a changed nation for the better. I believe we can unite as one again, but that will only start if we listen, truly listen.

White people, reach out to your black friends right now. They need to hear from us.

Voting is Your Rallying Cry, Your Middle Finger, Your Roar

Shari voting 2018 primaries
Aug. 28, 2018 was Primary Day in my home state of Arizona. This is me after voting.

As a writer, author, and American, I believe so strongly in the power of voicing one’s opinion beyond words.

Yesterday was Primary Day in my home state of Arizona. And I feel the need to say this, to anyone and everyone who is willing to listen.

The will of the people is heard one way, and one way only–by the vote. If you’re discontent with the current state of affairs within your city, your state, or your country, the voting booth is where you can affect change. Your vote is your rallying cry, your middle finger, your roar.

Do not shy away from the power that shimmers deep inside you, even if you doubt its own grit and force. Make it heard. Make it known. November is just a few months away.

“Don’t boo. Vote.”

America, How I Weep

 

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Courtesy of “Beverly & Pack” via Flickr

 

America, How I Weep

A Poem, by Shari Lopatin

©Shari Lopatin, 2016

 

Oh America,

How I weep for thee!

My once beautiful muse,

My distant refuge.

Your maternal embrace

Protected our grace, and welcomed

My family whole.

 

But now I stand atop your dream,

In cowardice and fear I glean …

We watch with haste,

Such distaste,

And mourn the death of hope

And faith.

 

America, when will you rise?

And crush the hate which I despise?

With this prayer,

I say to thee,

Revive the truth in us … in me.

 

 

Bananagrams: The New Age of American Consumerism

We’ve reached a new height in the age of American consumerism—Scrabble in a banana.

Yes, I found this new gem while stopping at Walgreens the night before Thanksgiving to grab some contact solution. You can purchase this enlightening invention for only $14.99.

Yes, it's true. This is a Bananagram. No, your eyes are not deceiving you.

Here’s the kicker: When I came back to Walgreens to snap a photo, only one remained.

I have no idea what company makes the Bananagram, or why. All I know is that I couldn’t help but stop after glimpsing five oversized, fabric bananas hanging from a hook off the aisle at Walgreens. I had to inspect this specimen further.

Upon removing one fabric banana from its hook, I noticed a zipper down the middle. Intrigued, I gently unzipped the contraption, revealing its hidden surprise. When it opened, a bag full of plastic letters—the kind used in Scrabble—erupted from the banana’s core.

I looked up at my boyfriend, confused. “Scrabble in a banana?”

He broke into a hysterical fit of laughter, as I stood there, stunned, with my shoulders shrugged. “Who would use Scrabble in a banana?”

Then I noticed the invention had a name. There, inscribed onto the side of the banana, it proclaimed, “Bananagram.”

Wow.

Now I know we’ve hit our peak. We have Facebook, and Twitter, and God bless it, we have WordPress. We have cameras on our phones and phones on our computers. But never have we reached the epitome of our capabilities in societal communication—until the Bananagram.

May it bring us peace and solve world hunger.