The past few days I had been planning on coming in, writing a piece about my frustrations at getting people to do things. Specifically, trying to get a group of well-meaning white folks off their butts and into the work of solidarity and equity.
But that suddenly pales today, because I learned today that a friend of mine has passed.
Now admittedly, this was not someone I've known since childhood. This was someone I've met in the past year. A friend who served their community as a firefighter and as a paramedic, and who bore the scars from that work.
This friend and I had plans. We were going to start making training videos to be available online, for anyone to learn from. And then they disappeared, went out west I learned later, to help out at the end of the summer. When they came back to Minneapolis/St. Paul, we picked up again and started talking about training. We ran together, trying to keep each other and our community safe.
I found out today that my friend died of an overdose, shortly after the last time that we ran as medics together.
It was more than a week ago, the last time I heard from my friend. They had disappeared again, but I figured they had gone up north, just like the last time they had gone out west. Just up and disappeared for a while.
I feel guilty.
I feel angry.
I feel powerless.
I feel numb.
A different friend of mine reminded me that we can't torture ourselves with hindsight, thinking of what we might have done, trying to identify all the warning signs we may have missed. Easier said than done.
But what is left for us to do? If I cannot look backward, then I should look forward, right? Continue the work of solidarity and equity. Trying to continue to do what my friend would have done, were they still with us here.
So maybe this one is about getting well-meaning white folks off their butts and into the streets. To do the work of solidarity and equity. To raise a black flag.