Lisa Pelletier-Ross, a beloved staff member at GLIDE, serving as a trusted Community Safety Team Shift Lead, shares her reflections and grief during these exceptionally challenging times that demand justice, humanity and an end to the teaching of hatred and fear that fuels the brutality of bigotry and racism. We are so grateful for her courageous truth-telling and unshakeable faith in a more just, loving and inclusive world.
Has the whole world gone crazy?
Why is it that it is the 21st century and we are still dealing with people being racist? This makes no sense to me. In the first place there should not have been no slavery, period, that’s reprehensible to me. What right did anyone think that it was a good idea? When the constitution was written it stated ALL MEN are created EQUAL. ALL MEN means EVERYONE.
Skin color should not matter, but somehow it does, which is complete ignorance and arrogance, and atrocious! We are supposed to all be brothers and sisters. People should be judged by the type of person they are, not by what color their skin is. Yet, every day people get judged by their skin color, by how they dress, what they look like, and who they hang out around. If I’m not mistaken this is profiling. Just because you look a certain way, your skin color, or you wear certain kinds of clothes doesn’t mean that a person can assume that you are up to no good. The saying “don’t judge a book by the cover” applies to everyday living and the police have no business to assume that you are automatically guilty of something just because of your skin color, how you dress, or who you are with. It’s like saying every black person is a drug user, but we know that this is not true, or every white person is a racist, but we know that this is not true. What needs to happen is all the hatred needs to end.
Hatred starts in the home.
It gets taught to children in their upbringing. I can speak on this because I was brought up in a house of bigotry. When I was in kindergarten, I met a girl named Tisa. We became best friends. We would play at school and after school. Her aunt lived down the street from mine. One day, my father saw Tisa and me outside playing, and I got in trouble. I was told that I wasn’t allowed to play with her anymore or I would get a spanking. The reason was Tisa is African American and my father was racist. Well I didn’t want to stop being able to play with my friend, so every day after school we would play, and every time I was caught playing with my friend Tisa, I would take a spanking.
Everyone’s in charge of their own destiny. You are the one who can make or break the chain. Just because I grew up in a house of bigotry doesn’t mean I had to be that way. I broke the chain and let the hatred end there. If I had to judge somebody, I’d judge them by the kind of person they are, not by the color of their skin. Adults could and should learn from children. When a child makes friends, whether at school or the park, they don’t care about what color their skin is, they just care that this is their friend. We need to stop teaching children hatred when being raised.
As far as the police are concerned, instead of them being trigger happy all the time, maybe they should go to CPI (Crisis Prevention Intervention) training. GLIDE Safety Team has taken the class and it helps us de-escalate situations with difficult clients. The Safety Team has to get re-certified every two years.
Police officers are the ones who set the tone when they first encounter a person. If they approach a person with a nasty or sarcastic attitude and are disrespectful, then how do you think the person is going to respond? The person will likely be disrespectful back because they feel disrespected. If an officer approaches a person and speaks to that person with respect, then they have a better chance of getting a cooperative response from the person because the person won’t feel like they were being disrespected.
The police need to learn that every person is different, and each person needs to be dealt with differently, depending on the individual’s situation. There are all walks of life out there, some people are experiencing homelessness, mental illness, or substance use disorders. Whichever the case may be, each encounter must be dealt with depending on the circumstances.
We must STOP profiling and lumping everyone into the same category. Just because you live in a certain area or hang around with certain people, doesn’t mean that you are a product of that environment.
WAKE UP people!
All this hatred towards one another must STOP.
By Erin Gaede