Photo by Njaimeh Njie/PublicSource -- Liana Maneese, the director of Adopting Identity, flips through photos of herself as an infant, including one of her mother, who is now in her 70s, holding her

A lot of people, particularly adoptive parents, take the ‘color blind’ approach. The idea of being color blind scares me. Imagine erasing a beautiful masterpiece your child just drew using all their favorite colors. The erasure and assimilation is so real, and we feel it young and we never stop until someone sees us. I had not formed my identity until I met people way later in life. Hell, I’m still figuring it out. I typically refer to myself as Afro-Brazilian, but it goes much deeper than that.

Are you angered by the death of George Floyd? We are.

Are you concerned that property destruction and violence are driving the focus away from peaceful and just demonstrations? We are.

Are you ready for Pittsburgh to go back to normal? We are not.

Murder in broad daylight, by agents of the state, is horrific and shocking and cannot stand.

But there are many other and more subtle ways to choke life from BIPOC, all very normal in the before times, such as:

All of this normal, accepted behavior is slow motion violence:  failing to act systematically, diligently and persistently, as documented by a scathing scientific study (commissioned by City of Pittsburgh) that indicates that Pittsburgh is the worst city in America for Black People.

Yes, we ALL want to feel comfortable and good about ourselves– displaying black screen as avatars, discussing/arguing in social media echo-chambers, posting public statements that you “stand with them.” But feeling comfortable without changing a thing at the expense of BIPOC, especially our Black brothers and sisters, can no longer be an option.

Please watch this video of Van Jones about latent danger of racism and then look at yourself at the mirror. Next, ask people in your own network and circle of influence to do the same.

Back to the old normal is not acceptable.

What are you going to do to create a better now?


Will Halim
Founding Director of Storyburgh


Storyburgh is run by freelancers/part-timers who each have own individual views. The opinion expressed here is my own and does not represent that of the entire group.


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