It's the holidays, and the pressure's on to make merry like it's your second full-time job. Get the tree up. Buy the presents. Drink the nog. Wear sparkles. It's all happening just like usual, only something's not right. Something feels unsettled. Over the familiar, cheerful warbling of Bing and Nat and Mariah are more urgent, outraged voices growing steadily louder and louder. Trayvon. Michael. Eric. For an ever-increasing number of us, the voices are too insistent and important to be ignored, and no amount of hall-decking and sleigh bell ringing can drown them out. They won't and should not be forgotten, no matter what month it is.
This holiday season will be remembered as one of conflicting agendas. People everywhere are struggling to balance beloved traditions with family and friends against the urgency of a movement that is growing with each fallen member of the black community. My dear friend Omar, who is an actor and artist in New York, created Conflicted Holiday to give us a platform, a space to share our frustration and hurt and demand for change. On the website he says, "We are conflicted. How can we celebrate in good conscience when so many have been hurt by current and past oppression?"
Please, take a moment to visit the website and learn about the project, and if you're so inclined, lend your voice to the conversation. I will be sharing my #conflictedholiday photos soon.