Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, I wouldn’t have been at all surprised to be surrounded by snow, slush, and cold weather on my birthday. Here in Columbia, Maryland, it’s a bit of a surprise. No matter. It’s my birthday and the weather won’t get in the way of my celebration.
I’m going to indulge myself by doling out a bit of birthday wisdom today. Humor me, will you?
Probably the most important thing I have learned in recent years is how important it is to find friends who challenge your thinking. If I have done anything that will contribute to a slowdown in the aging of my brain, this is it.
In light of that, here’s the person who has done the most to transform my views on race and how that affects all of us in Columbia/Howard County.
In case you don’t know, this is Candace Dodson Reed, co-host of the podcast Elevate Maryland and a part of the HoCo Forward slate for Democratic Central Committee. I was fortunate enough to bump into her last night at a local event (more on that this weekend) while I was mulling over what I wanted to write about today. We talked about how important it is to use one’s voice to say the things that need to be said. Things that perhaps others shy away from or just plain don’t see.
I owe so much to Candace for being the role model who challenged my white suburban worldview and got me to start asking questions. What do you mean that being a liberal white woman wasn't enough? Was it possible that there was much more to do if I legitimately wanted to be an ally? What was an ally, anyway?
I have had much to learn and I am still learning. I haven’t always come off looking all that good, and I have often felt uncomfortable. And, over time, I have realized that’s a good thing.
There is a meme on social media which begins, “Find you some who...” So here is mine.
Find you a friend who challenges you to be better.
I guarantee that you will be on the road to being wiser. And, who knows, maybe younger, too.