Shel worked for many years as a professional photographer. He is an avid collector of antiques and knows all there is to know about movies. As his words demonstrate, hIs heart and his mind are open and generous.
by Shel Izen, Seattle, Washington
Like most of us, the visceral viewing of the murder of Mr. George Floyd touched my heart in very deep ways. I am white. The first time I went to a grocery store after the murder, my heart enrobed in the murder memory, I wanted to apologize to every person of color that I saw. But I didn’t.
Yesterday, back to the grocery store. I passed a young woman of color. We made eye contact and I asked her if I could say something. I could see through her mask that she was puzzled. I apologized to her for having to live in such a country as ours. I said I just wanted her to know that I feel for her. Her eyes turned to friendly pools. She thanked me, and we moved on.
Later during the same shopping visit, I approached a man of color and we wound up talking at a distance for 15 minutes. It turned out he was from Kenya, and shared with me that this is nothing new for him, told me it was human nature between people who hate each other. He spoke about Rwanda. He made me think. The Rwandan Civil War arose from a long-standing dispute between the Hutu and Tutsi groups living within the Rwandan population. See, my horizons are expanding already. We both agreed that it was nice talking with each other.
Who knew the death of Mr. George Floyd could be such a valuable conversation starter? It is not a solution but a small step toward building the new necessary path to understanding and change. In my opinion, this apology is long overdue.