Part of what has made this year so surreal is how unpredictable it’s felt. How we could have made plans, big or small, in the spring or summer of 2020, and watched them disappear in moments because of something we could never have seen coming. Over the last week though, we’ve all been witness to something that has been building for centuries.
A peaceful protest in downtown Dallas over the police killing of George Floyd devolved into chaos with tear gas, looting and vandalism on Friday night. The windows of Traffic, Neiman Marcus and Forty Five Ten, as well as nonprofits such as the Architecture and Design Exchange and Café Momentum restaurant, were shattered. The Eye sculpture across from The Joule was tagged with the phrase “Now UC Us.” The rest of the weekend saw more destruction beyond high-end storefronts in Dallas.
Cultural spaces like the Perot Museum, The Crow Museum of Asian Art and The Nasher were all on the receiving end of looting and vandalism.
I was sitting having coffee on the patio of Royal Blue Grocery in Highland Park Village on Saturday morning when an employee came out to tell us they were shutting down the historic shopping center because of the events of the night prior. NorthPark Center and the Galleria, along with beloved local stores such as Nicole Kwon and Favor the Kind posted to Instagram that they would be closing their doors out of an abundance of caution.
It was discomforting, and if I had wanted to, I could have gone home, stayed off of social media and away from the news. I could continue to live life in my Dallas bubble as though nothing was going on, and never done the mental work to focus on the meaning and importance of protests in the first place. But the very fact that it could be so easy to disengage is a result of my own privilege, something I didn’t earn or work for, but something handed to me because of the color of my skin. That’s not a reality anyone or I should retreat into or use to escape from an uncomfortable world.
There’s been much to take in on social media, but many Dallasites have used their platforms to voice a desire to use their white privilege for good and become a better ally to people of color, something that local gems like the female-focused workspace Her HQ is helping with by providing educational resources. Neighborhood Goods is highlighting ways to donate (and giving back themselves) to the cause. One hundred percent of the proceeds from Favor the Kind’s newly launched collection, FTK will be donated to Dallas Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation. On Instagram, Tina Craig’s UBeauty brand, Suzy Batiz’s Supernatural, and Fort Worth-based Tribe Alive are highlighting ways to help followers take action, donate, and stay informed.
I know that I’ll never be able to fully understand, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find ways to show support and solidarity. Most importantly, I don’t want to disengage — I want to help keep the conversation going in our community in any way I can.