Letter to Fred #2

Sunday, January 17th, 2021
Martinez, CA
12:30pm 71° sunny and unseasonably warm
Monthly rain: .46″ Year to Date: .46″


Dear Freddie,
We are in the middle of the MLK holiday weekend and three days away from the presidential inauguration. My cousin Maureen says she feels like she’s in the first 10 minutes of a 3 hour movie. Unfortunately we don’t know if that movie is a comedy, thriller, or horror. Your uncle Tom wrote to us and told us how things were looking in DC. He has lived there for about 20 years now and remembers what it was like after 9/11. He says in someways it’s the same and in other ways it’s very, very different.

Most of the insurrectionists from last week’s attempted coup have been arrested. What is so chilling to me is that they really didn’t think there would be any repercussions for their actions. They didn’t wear masks, they happily shared photos and videos of their raid, bragged about it to neighbors. Now most of them have the *shocked pikachu face.*

In your classes you have learned a little bit about Martin Luther King Jr but not a whole lot. I don’t know if that’s because you are in a special day class or if it’s because they don’t know what to teach 1st graders when it comes to his message. I think of the disconnect between the MLK kids are taught in school and what MLK actually said. Just as people pick and choose from the bible, I feel that people (specifically white people) also pick and choose quotes from MLK and conveniently forget some of the more critical ones.

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

Letter from Birmingham Jail, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr

If I can teach you how to do one thing, Freddie, it would be to listen and hear what is being said. Not everything needs an immediate response. I have done a lot of listening in the past four year. I don’t understand everything and a lot of things I may never understand. But I’ve also found that my response to everything being said, especially when what is being said challenges my comfort or challenges the status quo, is not needed. I’ve been thinking a lot. Thinking about what I take for granted, what I assumed to be true because that’s just how things were, and thinking about ways I can change my behaviors and my actions.

It is very easy to be afraid of change. It’s harder to be brave and embrace that you might be wrong.

I don’t know what the next week will bring. But I will continue to work to keep you safe, to keep you healthy, and to keep you asking questions.

In other news: I’ve gone on a few rides this week, two of them with Archer running next to me! You have become enamored with the Spanish language and constantly ask for more words. Jonathan has been teaching you how to program using Scratch on the computer.

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