Letter from the Editor: Addressing racial injustice in Midland

One of the simplest and most profound analogies in support of Black Lives Matter to date has been the example of the ‘all lives matter’ cartoon depiction of a house fire.

The intent behind Black Lives Matter has never been that black lives matter more than other lives, it’s that black lives matter on par with other lives – which has historically not been recognized by the justice system, and many others. Systems that have been built over several generations that bring longstanding, endemic and structural disadvantages to the Black community and people of color.

It’s not a Republican issue, a Democratic issue, a Black issue or a White issue.

It’s a human issue.

It’s also an issue that resonates in Midland.

This past week we attended the protest, and in the days following had the chance to talk to a few of the people behind this effort.

A scene from the group that gathered at Midland's Circle on June 7.

Hearing Jonathan and Adia Haynes’ account of various experiences from throughout their youth is extremely unsettling and worth a read to listen to the perspective of two recent students in our community.

It’s difficult to look at these accounts and recognize they happened in the very recent past and that people of color did not feel safe – let alone at school – in Midland. We don’t aim to point fingers, only highlight stories of where there is room to evolve and listen to the perspectives of others.

These situations are complex, and as a white-led publication, we do not profess to have the answers. We do want to highlight there remains an opportunity to do a better job of listening to our friends and neighbors of color, learning from their experiences, and taking action.

A sign held up at Midland's protest on June 7.

We have a number of great diversity resources in our community, several of which have broadened their scope and mission just in the last few years. If you were in the crowd or driving by on Sunday, you saw that Midland’s efforts were incredibly peaceful, hopeful, supportive and people and families of all ages and colors were involved. It felt like a step forward and the
hope is that those actions continue to take shape how with think about racial injustice.

While our track record has not always been perfect as a community, you can see visible and marked interest that we’re trying to do better.

Moving forward as a community overall, we have an obligation to continue to rise and evolve. While there are specific examples over the past several years where we haven’t spoken loud enough to support our black friends and neighbors, the Haynes’ experiences included, the broader task is looking within our daily lives and ask ourselves where injustice and prejudice still exist today.

The needle is moving.

Sincerely,
Courtney Soule
Managing Editor of Catalyst Midland

Here are just a few of the available resources locally and online for education on this issue:
Black Lives Matter
Cultural Awareness – Midland Area Community Foundation
Midland Inclusion Council
Antiracism Resources – Good Good Good
Resources for White Allies – Dismantle Collective

Read more articles by Courtney Soule.

Courtney is a longtime Midland resident and enjoys telling the story of the community's evolution. As the Managing Editor of Catalyst Midland, her favorite topics are interesting people, change makers, outdoor recreation and design. Aside from Catalyst, her published work can be found various places including Elephant Journal, Thought Catalog and a number of other websites, papers, menus and the occasional one-liner.