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Now that we know…

Study of The 1619 Project in a book club that meets weekly took months because we discussed only one chapter each meeting. Those of us participating are mostly white, well-educated, female and retired. We learned so much about well-documented racism in American history that we did not know.

But now that we know, what do we do with that knowledge?

We can proudly pat ourselves on the back knowing that we likely are a small percentage of Americans who have not only read the book but discussed in detail adding materials to supplement our understanding. As new learners, we can talk with family and friends to face claims from others that it is not accurate, and so we change the subject.

We can take on the responsibility to repair the injustices, knowing that legislative leaders still lack the political will to act, at least most of those now holding offices. We can continue our rather comfortable lives ignoring our new knowledge and do nothing. After all,

white privilege allows us to make choices that people of color do not have. Or we can choose to take sides and stand with the victims of racism. I recently learned of a hero for me

to model: John William Colenso, a 19 th Century English missionary, who was transformed by Zulu friends in Africa. When learning of injustices, he and his family felt compelled to stand with the Zulu people against the English imperialism, despite the costs.

We have a choice. We can stand with the tribal people of the Wind River Indian Reservation against racism, whether housing discrimination, treatment at local businesses, policing or other ways that racism manifests itself.

Here’s an upcoming opportunity in Fremont County. Join us at Riverton City Hall on Tuesday, March 9, 7 pm when the Riverton Peace Mission shares data with the City Council documenting racism and asks that the City finally establish a working committee to address the problem. This is one way to show love to our neighbors who need us to stand with them.

Have courage, humility, and faith. Build relationships. Do justice.

Chesie Lee

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