Off On the Right Foot

Sunday, June 07, 2020
Fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium) looking mighty fine this June.  Important native land restoration plant with many ethnobotanical uses.  I’ve started going for short meanders through the garden before I leave home in the morning for my nursing shifts.  Those meanders, coupled with coffee, start my day off on the right foot! 

PS:  If you haven’t seen 13th yet, I highly recommend watching on Netflix.  I learned a lot about how the law and order decades have translated into another form of slavery.  In fact, I am next going to be reading Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon.  Thank you to Lettie Shumate for recommending—I also highly recommend checking out her podcasts and Instagram feed.

In Solidarity

Saturday, June 06, 2020
First year my Western mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii) is blooming! Blooms on last year’s branches. Mine is growing near Pacific Ninebark (Physokarpus capitatus)

Working on the unit this weekend, and reading as much as I can in my spare time on anti-racism. Malcolm X said in 1964, “We don’t see any American dream, we’ve only experienced the American nightmare.” Anti-racism is an active process, and an individual responsibility. No one can do the work for you. Standing with my fellow black Americans in solidarity.

Personal Growth

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Just getting started. 

In Humility

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

In all humility and with deep sorrow, I am acknowledging that I have been unknowingly complicit with my silence and lack of awareness and understanding.  As I learn more about what it means to be anti-racist, I am taking personal responsibility for educating myself further on black history, the US prison system, political and social oppression, slavery, white privilege, and the active role of an ally.  I am not looking away.  I have had the luxury of being shielded from the hatred and racism my brothers and sisters of color have always endured, but the shield has been lifted.  How could have been so blind?  I don’t know, but I’m moving forward.  

I happen to live in one of the whitest cities in America, d/t Oregon’s history of racism and bigotry. Not even 100 years ago, Oregon had the largest population of KKK members per capita than any other state in the country.  As a native Oregonian, I have felt disgusted by this history, yet I fooled myself into thinking it was in the past.  I know better now.  I am acknowledging this history, the role I may have unknowingly played in perpetuating racist constructs, and am open to learning, changing, and being uncomfortable with the process.  

Watching 13th by Ava DuVernay on Netflix tonight with my family, and currently reading The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. This is just a start, a launching platform for deep personal growth and learning so I can be a true and present ally in ending racism.

Ending Racism: Change Starts With Education

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

How To Be a Good White Ally struck me as a good starting place today. In all humility and with deep sorrow at the part I may have unknowingly played in a system that has brutalized our brothers and sisters of color for decades, it is time to educate myself. The time is NOW for education, activation, and finding our voices. We must do our own personal work and dig deep to remove any mindsets, beliefs, or behaviors that may be contributing to white supremacy and racial intolerance. The time is now. We cannot go back. For George Floyd, today is the day we move forward.  EDUCATE!  ACTIVATE!  CHANGE!  BLACK LIVES MATTER!

Racism, Injustice, and Inequality: The Time is Now to Take Hold of a Generational Opportunity

Monday, June 01, 2020
Was another sobering morning in America, so I went for a drive in the country to think and listen.

Graceful cinquefoil (Pontentilla gracilis) with native pollinator
My radio was playing Here and Now on OPB, the program was titled, “From the 1960s to 2020: Civil Unrest in the Face of Systemic Injustice”, with Peniel Joseph, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the University of Texas at Austin.  Joseph said, “We have a generational opportunity to squarely confront this history and to move in a new and more progressive direction.”  A "generational opportunity" filled me with hope when I heard that.  I spent my life reading about how others made history, but this time has been given to us, and as sickening as it is to take a hard look at the time in which we have been given, we can rise together, work hard, and come out on the other side a greater nation.  I have to believe that.

Seaside daisy (Erigeron glaucus) with native pollinator.
We all grew up reading about the American civil rights movement of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.  I encourage you to reread the history.  Read about Emmett Till’s brutal murder and the two white men that were acquitted by an all-white jury.  He was 14 and accused of offending a white woman in a grocery store.  I cry every time I think about Emmett's mother, Mamie Bradley, who wanted people to see what hatred had been unleashed on her only son.  Open casket.  Public funeral service.  Before cell phones, she wanted the world to see what had happened to her son.  How he was unrecognizable.  How our democracy had failed by acquitting his known killers.

Sword fern, oak fern, and oxalis mix
I don't know that too much has changed in the past 50-80 years.  The pain of the injustice and perpetuation of racism, generation after generation, feels more than I can bear at times, though my pain doesn't light a candle to the pain of my black brothers and sisters.  For what it's worth, I, Karli Del Biondo, stand with you, no matter what.  I will always believe that love is greater than hatred, fear, and oppression.

Art by Nikkolas Smith
 From Emmett Till to George Floyd.  Their LIVES MATTER.  BLACK LIVES MATTER!

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