"June" From a White-Passing Perspective

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I've spent this last week trying to decide what to write for today's blog. I've felt torn between writing about Black Lives Matter, Pride Month, Indigenous History Month or the one year anniversary of my OCD diagnosis. So, instead of picking one, I want to write to you about all of it.

I want this magazine to be a platform for complete honesty. I want people to feel that this is a place where we can tell our unapologetic truths. With that in mind, I admit that I feel stuck. As head editor and a white person of privilege, I feel a critical and necessary responsibility to speak out against the horrific acts that are still being committed against black lives and to be an active part of reformation and change. I also feel like, as a white person, I need to step back and make space for black voices. At the same time, I want to show my love and support and celebration for LGBTQ+ lives. As a mostly white person with an eighth indigenous Cree blood, I want to write about Indigenous History and its importance, but I also acknowledge that I have a very white-passing experience in the world and have experienced very little racism. I don't have the shared experience of being an Indigenous-passing person that my ancestors and Indigenous friends do. I didn't even learn about Canadian Residential Schools until I went to University. I feel guilty for needing to look after my own mental health, exhausted from my own tormenting thoughts and at the same time, eager to celebrate my achievement of one year in life-changing therapy for OCD.

I feel drawn to social media and all the important information it takes part in contributing, but I also feel compassion fatigue and information overload. And I feel selfish for feeling that way. And, due to my privilege, I am thinking about systemic racism with an urgency I never have before.

All these issues are incredibly important. I want to make space for as many diverse and marginalized voices as possible. I want to hear and share the stories that our patriarchal world doesn't make room for. But, I honestly don't know what to say about them or if I should say anything. I want to say the right things, do the most helpful things and be the most supportive ally I possibly can. I read books, sign petitions, write letters, make the occasional posts. But is it enough? I don't want to jump on the bandwagon and then jump right off a month later. This needs to be life-long work.

I don't offer any answers and don't think I should. Or should I? The cycle goes on.
I will say that I have a platform and, all of us at Lida, intend to use it to amplify marginalized, diverse voices. We need to do better. We urge BIPOC, LGBTQ+, those with disabilities, mental illnesses or any other sidelined or stigmatized voices to submit with us. We need your voices now more than ever before. But, we also need white voices in this conversation. We need to learn how to talk about racism and how we have oppressed BIPOC and LGBTQ+. Let's write about it. Let's write about our own ignorance, the ways we may have exhibited racism or continue to, what we can do, the idea that we don't know what to do, the helplessness and urgency. Let's break down the system. Together.

Posted by Melody Griffin Dowdy
Melody is a restless traveller, consumer of experimental fiction and creative writer. She is interested in exploring mental illness, sexuality and and feminism in her writing. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta and is currently working on a novella entitled "Salt Water" and a book of poetry called "Void."

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