Kozi’s  Korner  –  Listening In On An Awakening by the “gentleman in the sunglasses”.

Hello friends. It has been a while since I’ve posted anything in Kozi’s Korner and I’m back. Today I want to tell a story about what happened to me recently.

The other week, Peter of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco, invited me to join a panel of peers in a virtual meeting he was hosting. The topic: REAL TALK: A DISCUSSION ON POLICE BRUTALITY AND RACISM. Well, I accepted the invitation and twenty-four hours later I joined the virtual group. I had no idea what was going to happen or what to expect so quite naturally, as the universe would have it, the unexpected happened.  

I’d like to share with you a part of an email Peter received after the session. The sender, a conscientious listener, who remained anonymous, had this to say about my voice, my words and her heart. Listen to the true emotion elicited from her. 

(a portion of an email: she wrote/said)

“Thank you again for inviting me to listen in on this very important topic. The stories that were shared were heartbreaking and shocking as the thought of being pulled over and having to worry about reaching into the glove compartment for my license and registration has never crossed my mind. 

I have one sister-in-law who is African American and both of my brothers adopted black children. We are a very tight, close knit family and whenever we get together and go out, the nasty stares and the occasional disgusting comments hurt all of us. The world is a complex place and labeling people and putting them into categories is just going to continue this never-ending circle of racism and distrust. 

I must say, the gentleman who was wearing the sunglasses that spoke, really had an impact on me. The way in which he shared about the horrific on-going incidents of racial discrimination and police brutality, touched me to the very core. His honesty and emotions were raw and I “heard” him when he spoke. I can’t even describe the emotions (mainly shock and sadness) running through me, but I am glad my camera was off.  In terms of getting Caucasians to really understand what it is like for an African American dealing with law enforcement, he would be an incredible spokesperson for the African American community. His words and emotions are still resonating with me and have given me the ability to see things in a whole other light. If you can, please let him know that he really made a difference that night.”

Wow! What she heard was surprising, inspiring, eye-opening, and thought provoking, for sure. What she felt was real. I’m glad I was able to make a difference in someone’s consciousness. What do you think about her reality check? How can you make a difference? 

Accepting that invitation to be a panelist was challenging. I believe that challenges are opportunity filled and character building. Maybe that’s why I said yes without giving it much thought. With each new challenge I grow. When I am going through something I have learned how to grow through the experience as well. I look for the lessons and blessings. Even in the valley there are lessons and blessings. 

What are you learning and how, in the midst of the uncertainty of the world today, are you being blessed? Remember: Challenges are opportunity filled and character building.

By Kenneth Kozi Arrington