Here’s this week’s installment of Five Minute Friday, where a group of us tackle the task of writing for five minutes on a specific prompt word from our moderator, Kate Motaung. After writing, we share our thoughts at the Community section of fiveminutefriday.com. Then we get to sit back and read what our fellow writers have posted. It’s always inspiring.
I’ve been including snippets from other writers, taken from Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat, compiled by Susan Shipe. Listen to why Elizabeth finds Five Minute Friday so rewarding. Maybe she can convince you to visit or, better yet, give it a try!
“Blogging was a way for me to reconnect to my long lost love of writing. When I lost focus and wasn’t sure how to continue, when I was overwhelmed by life’s busy-ness, when I wasn’t sure I had anything worthwhile left to say, a Five Minute Friday prompt would appear in my inbox and, the next thing you know, I was writing again.”
This week’s prompt is STAY. The timer is set, so let’s GO …
It was a different Five Minute Friday Twitter party last night. Our facilitator Kate sent an afternoon notice she was skipping the get-together. I, too, didn’t stop by until later after the prompt was posted. There were only a handful who joined together.
We have heavy hearts. After the months of coronavirus lockdown sapped our energy, the news of the tragic death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis morphed into peaceful and often not so peaceful protests spanning from sea to shining sea and all but shut us down again. What started as a protest escalated into pandemonium with wanton looting and burning and destruction and more violence and more death. The videos, now available every where and any time because of smart phones, focused on the worst incidents not only in urban areas but small towns and villages as well. They tended to verify the stereotypes — police brutality, looters, anarchy. The media focused on these new-found sound bites as well. After all, “dog bites man” has little impact while “man bites dog” gets the clicks, whether statistically factual or not.
We’ve been through this before. We haven’t learned.
Just as background, I grew up in a very white world in … STOP
… the suburbs of Paterson, NJ. I witnessed the riots in Paterson in 1968, in fact worked near the epicenter of the uprising that pretty much leveled the downtown. I did have persons of color as friends, but not in my traveling circle. I never considered myself racist, nor did I ever consider my friends of color racist. Race relations in the north were markedly different than the south.
One reason, I think, is because we — or at least I — never looked at the color of skin. We will never get rid of racism until we stop looking at black and white (or any other color) and start identifying people not by their skin color but as unique children of God and our brothers and sisters. It’s not new. One history book — the Bible — illustrates these inequities almost from the time Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden.
Black lives matter. No, all lives matter. White privilege is real. No, privilege is earned and should be colorblind. That statement denigrates the accomplishments of everyone who have succeeded, often despite incredible odds. We all have discrimination backgrounds. I may not have witnessed it, but I have heard the stories of the signs of “Irish Need Not Apply” or my Italian relatives from generations ago being chased by mobs when they crossed the wrong street.
Stay safe. Stay strong. But most of all, stay on your knees and keep looking up!
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow. — Shauna Niequist