Hamel: Happy Journal #22


The Voices Desk is an extension of the Diversity Desk at the Iowa State Daily. This section has been around for a while — since 2015 —  and it’s meant to write and uplift the voices of the Ames and Iowa State communities. 

Peyton Hamel

I watch a church service every morning on Sunday with my mother, and today was the most thoughtful and peaceful service I have ever witnessed. There was a Black guest speaker who addressed my church, which is predominantly white, on the recent protests, riots and events concerning Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and so many other lives that have been lost in the last three months — and beyond that. 

It’s about time this message is discussed everywhere. And I mean everywhere. It’s a privilege to be able to not have these discussions; it’s a privilege to not to have to participate; it’s a privilege to be a bystander. I am so incredibly happy that a Black guest speaker preached to the choir about how to be present. He also reminded us that we are brothers and sisters, a family.

But why have we felt the need to censor ourselves? Aren’t you tired of it? Your core belief systems and values encompass WHO YOU ARE! There is no reason to be to be afraid of expressing that. There is no reason to be private about it. You have nothing to lose. What could we be afraid of? Being uncomfortable? Change? 

The guest speaker did one thing: set a series of guidelines on how to get involved — and not just with the Black Lives Matter movement. This is how to get involved with any person in your life:

  1. Enter
  2. Experience
  3. Empathize
  4. Engage

There have never been rules or guidelines before on how to actively participate in racial issues in a positive light, let alone successfully. NOW is the time to participate. NOW is a time to be more than just a part of the conversation. THAT is what makes me incredibly happy. You have guidelines; now no one has an excuse to say they don’t know how. 

Dear white people: we can probably agree that racial issues seem ambiguous to us. They seem like an optional part of life. It was and is not now an option. We have been living far too long, too comfortably in a world that isn’t comfortable. 

We are a family. And your Black and Brown brothers and sisters of America are struggling. Blood or adopted, you protect your family. Racism is real and racism hurts. If your friend broke a bone, you wouldn’t tell them that it doesn’t hurt. IT DOES. And it hurts bad. You enter the situation and tell them it will be okay. You get involved in the situation and experience. You tell them you are with them and you ACT. You don’t say a prayer and say it’s a terrible thing. That’s sympathy. If they’re family, if these fellow Americans are your brothers and sisters, you are with them and you are for them. 

We have a much bigger family than we were led to believe. How incredible is that? 

This is the time we acknowledge our Black and Brown brothers and sisters. Enough with the “I don’t see color.” Yes, you do. Otherwise, you wouldn’t walk into Best Buy and ask them for the TV with the best and most colorful pixels. 

It’s about time we put down our opinions, judgements and points to help these brothers and sisters. If we are too busy trying to make a point, then we are way too busy prioritizing ourselves. 

We are family. And I’m happy to say that I have beautiful Black and Brown brothers and sisters to celebrate every day with. 

It’s time for a family reunion.