My Ally journey began long ago. In my late teens and early 20's my immediate circle began to expand significantly. I worked in Baltimore City and lived in Sowebo (Southwest Baltimore). As I look back on my life, I realize that I've always been attracted to different. My friends, the people I spent the most time with, the people I lived with were from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. I was a regular at the Pink Hippo with my friends Tommy and Ty (don't tell anyone but I kinda had my own barstool). No one poured a drink like Jack and the fun I had talking with Auntie Gordon makes my heart smile today. Baltimore Pride Festival was one of my favorite celebrations. Oh the wonderful times I had!
Then my life changed and I went into recovery and a living my life with the 12 Steps. This part of my journey took me to Sarasota, FL. In Sarasota I began to meet many people in the large Latin community here. My daughter is Boricua (Puerto Rican) and again, my life and the people in it are from many different colors, ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations AND countries. My life is amazing and would be so much less full without all the people in it. I'm so grateful.
As open and liberal as I've always been, there was something I wasn't really realizing. Oh, I knew there was deep and systemic racism and hatred out there. I was the recipient of "the looks" when with my Black Cuban boyfriend. When speaking Spanish at the beach once, I was screamed at to "Go Back to my Country". So, I knew and it made me indignant and angry when faced with it. What I hadn't really realized was that I had so much to learn. Growing up, I never had to think about race....in fact, when thinking of the word itself I didn't think of ME. I hadn't really thought about the privilege I enjoy. A privilege that I did nothing to receive except to be born to white parents.
8 minutes and 46 seconds that changed EVERYTHING. Literally everything and also began a learning journey.
“Mom, you need to find a way to use your White Privilege to carve a path for Black Voices.”
These were the words my 17 year old, LatinX, non-binary child spoke to me in May of 2020. Through my tears and while wondering how in the world my baby grew to be so wise at so young an age, I promised her I would do that. And so, my journey began. I’m not really sure where it’s taking me—this necessary journey—but I’m not really in the driver’s seat am I? There is a Power greater than myself—leading me—teaching me—guiding me. At the core of my journey are the wise words of my beautiful child.
2021 NADA Chairman, Paul Walser issued a challenge to the dealer body regarding the first of his three areas of importance in our wonderful industry--Diversity and Inclusion:
I hope you enjoy his remarks as much as I did.