July 25, 2023

Leslie K.

Smiling woman with brown hair wearing orange jacket.

Leslie K.

Chaska, MN, USA

Why I joined ARCC?

Racism has been alive and well in our world for far too long. Ongoing mind blowing actions and events continue to shine a very bright and ugly light on the pervasive ignorance and greed in our society. I grew up in the epitome of white privilege in Oklahoma and with the exception of extreme anger and sadness around the Trail of Tears, I existed in ignorant bliss of “the talk”, lack of teachers and books that represented and taught diversity, and the consistent institutional, historical, and cultural norms that marginalized so many. My entire education was in the state of Oklahoma and the first time I heard about the Tulsa race massacre was a few years ago at a community event on racism in Chaska, MN. We cannot continue to ignore the history of racism and its ongoing and devastating impacts. For years, I insisted I did not see color and did not consider myself a racist. I appreciate those that called me out on boiler plate statements I hid behind and have come to understand that I must own my own racist actions and contributions to normalizing it, no matter how unintentional. While it is a start, acknowledgment does not equate to change. Being part of the solution, making choices and taking steps that hold ourselves and others accountable for actions, words and deeds is imperative to driving real and lasting change. We have to unapologetically speak up, speak out and stand up with a consistency that mirrors those that live with its impacts every day.