- Kelly King
Silence is Complicity
I don’t see people the way others do. I've known this most of my life. When I was very young, I was caught staring at an ancient woman, wrinkled like a prune. She had a fierceness about her and she was still like stone. Someone commented on how ugly she was. I stayed silent. She was breathtaking. Beautiful was the word in my mind. I wanted to touch her lines and trace them to see where they began and ended. She had stories written all over her face. She knew things I couldn't begin to grasp. I felt it then and I can remember it in my body now.
I was silent.
I remember my 5th grade friend and crush who lived across the street. My mother told me I couldn’t be friends with him. I was heartbroken. He had given me a necklace and called me his “Roni”. I had no idea what that was, but I knew it was good. He was kind, fun, and treated me very well. But, I wasn’t allowed to play with him anymore. Why? He was black. I was white. And we weren’t allowed to be friends.
I was silent.
He and I are connected now through instagram. He is still kind, fun, and treats his loved ones very well.
Many white people choose whiteness over democracy. They’ve made that choice their whole lives, but they acted on it by voting for Trump the 1st and 2nd time. They acted on it by coming to DC and rioting. They acted on it by how they voted on impeachment. They chose insurrection over democracy. All to protect the myth of white supremacy.
I have some pity for these white people cloaked in fear. Fear of change. Fear of being wrong. Fear of learning something new that contradicts EVERYTHING they have been taught for generations. I grew up amongst them and they are my family.
These same people turn to anger instead of using that same kinetic energy to sit still, ponder, explore, and grow through new experiences and knowledge.
These same people try to paint me as the angry one.
Nope. We are in a crisis of democracy. People are choosing whiteness over democracy; if we don’t do our part as informed citizens, then we are complicit.
Find the beauty in people who don’t look like you. Stand up for each other. Stare down inequality. Be brave.
Silence is complicity.
I am no longer silent.
Join me. Love is at the root of my actions. Make some noise for love. Make some noise for justice. Cornel West famously said “Justice is what love looks like in public.”
Let justice reign down on this country so that we may all be free.
If all of this feels raw and you are too vulnerable to act right now, please join me for an awkward conversation next Friday. Space is limited, so register ASAP. I'm not selling you anything. This is a free event - an offering of dialogue.
A series of artistic interventions to help groups and individuals practice having difficult conversations.
I was raised not to speak about politics or religion at the dinner table. Paired with a directive not to “air my dirty laundry” outside the home, the message was clear: vulnerability is not ok.
How’s that working for me? It’s not.
You? I didn’t think so.
And, It doesn’t work for society.
I’m offering us all an opportunity to embrace our collective awkward vulnerability. Yup.
This is a chance to come together and try to overcome the social directives we swallowed and our primal fears around being vulnerable.
I’ll have a new topic the first week of each month. That first conversation is open to anyone, and free for all. But, these conversations are not a free for all. I will facilitate our discussion to keep things respectful and flowing. Three follow up conversations will follow, open to anyone who wants to practice/pursue the topic further.
I’d love to hear your ideas for topics: https://forms.gle/J9qgcC2FKpEdMHv3A
Up First: Listening Across Racial Divides
Based on the performance & film: “Hey White Girl” by Kelly King, Greer Reed, Tuyet Pham, and JJ Johnson.
REGISTER to receive the zoom link and to view two short, filmed versions of the piece as support materials for our discussion. We will begin with this common ground, then branch out according to the natural ebb and flow of the conversation and interests of participants. As this is the first month, we’ll only have one follow-up conversation.