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A few years ago my family went to the Southern California mountains for a snow day. We planned a fun-filled day of skiing and tubing down snowy slopes. As we arrived we headed to the lodge for snacks and a potty break. I got the kids settled and headed to the bathroom. The door to the stall next to me closed and the screaming began. I heard a mother berating her daughter. Her cruel words echoed through the room. Then I heard the slaps and the little girl began crying. I stood frozen in fear.

“I don’t know the details.” I told myself. “It’s none of my business.” I tried to reason with my heart.

I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing. They left the bathroom before me. I washed my hands as a few tears fell from my eyes. I went on with my day but I couldn’t shake the awful feeling inside me. I did nothing. It was horrible. It was wrong. And I stood there silent.

I promised myself next time I would do something.

A couple years later I was shopping at a department store. As I entered the dressing room with a couple pairs of jeans, an angry mom pushed past me. She dragged her child into one of the dressing rooms and began screaming. I heard slaps. I had been in almost the exact same situation a few years before. I felt the same feeling of fear and horror move through my body.

I looked at the dressing room attendant and said, “We have to do something.”

She looked at me with sympathy in her eyes and said, “As an employee, I’m not allowed to say anything. There’s nothing I can do.”

I took a deep breath and walked over to the dressing room. I knocked on the door and said with a timid voice, “Pardon me. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m uncomfortable with what I’m hearing.”

The mother responded, “It’s none of your business. We’re fine.”

“But I’m not fine.” I said. “I’m uncomfortable and I’ll wait out here until you come out.”

After a few moments they came out of the dressing room walked past me and left the store.
Did I do enough? Maybe not. But I did something. It was a start.
I showed up. I stood up and said, “I’m uncomfortable.”

My husband and I recently started watching a documentary that explores racism {among other things} in the US in recent history.
A couple days ago I read a news story about police violence against a black man.
And the next day, another very disturbing news story about police violence.
I’m uncomfortable.
We have a problem.

If we see injustice and do nothing we’re not only part of the problem, we are the problem.
We cannot look away.
We cannot sit silently by and do nothing.
We can fight for what is right.
We can say, “I’m uncomfortable.”
It’s not enough, but it’s a start.
One voice, even if it’s squeaky and small, can join with many others to become a roar.
A beautiful, power force for change.
Friends, we need change.

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