Solidarity, Kindness and Culture
During these unique and trying times, KSM hopes that everyone can find peace and enjoy the solidarity that is being shown around the world today. We remind you to continue practicing good hygiene and physical distancing and following the recommended CDC guidelines to the best of your ability.
We would like to share with you some uplifting news stories, words of advice from a sister and one sister's impactful journey in fighting racism and remaining open minded.
Inspiring and Uplifting News
How One of Our Sisters is Adjusting to the Pandemic College Experience
The hardest part for me is reminding myself to not dwell on the things out of my control. I am most worried about my uncle who has lung cancer, but I can’t protect him. When my thoughts begin to spiral out of control I use some coping skills:
I am hoping if the weather gets nicer, I can bring my hammock into the backyard. Check up on your neighbors and friends.
And finally, a wonderful story from our sister Nicole Black on her experience growing up in a close-minded small town and how she persisted in growing up and maintaining an open mind and heart and how that led her to KSM.
On The Edge of the South
Swastikas on bathroom stalls, the confederate flags stars and bars flying from the back of rusted trucks, and the subtle and not so subtle racist remarks said around dinner tables. All these things I grew up with and didn’t know otherwise until around middle school. I didn’t have a person of color in my class until I was in 6th grade. So you could say I grew up very white for a chunk of my life.
For those of you who don’t know, I grew up about 30 minutes north of Cincinnati, Ohio which sits on the bend of the Ohio river, the only barrier between us and Kentucky.
I’m from a sleepier semi-rural town called Hamilton, Ohio, first established as Fort Hamilton to help claim the land from the indigenous groups like the Miami and Shawnee people. While the fort was no longer in use during the Civil War, the town was known to be “ambiguous” with which side it helped supply for. Looking back on my family trees, the smattering of representation soldiers leaned heavily towards the grey of the south.
There are a lot of things you don’t realize when you are growing up that are strange or just down right wrong compared to everyone else’s upbringing. I wouldn’t say I grew up in 100% normalized racism, I believe I grew up in 85% normalized ignorance. I thought that I wasn’t allowed to go across the train tracks because my mom thought a freak accident with a train would turn me into flat stanley. I thought I wasn’t allowed to go over to Alexia’s, my closest school friend, house because her parents weren't there to watch me. I didn’t understand that across the train tracks there was more violence than usual due to a “more violent group of people”. I didn’t know that I couldn’t go to Alexia’s house because her father looked a little too rough with an old gang tattoo tattooed on his cheek next to the hollow teardrop.
I wasn’t completely oblivious to everything going on. I understood the strange looks my father would give me. I felt some discomfort from the underhand comments made about the Indian boy that moved across the street by our cranky next door neighbor. I knew that anyone who wasn’t at 8am Sunday mass, freezing in the wooden pews and kneeling on the cold unyielding marble floors, was a heathen. I understood what my grandmother had meant by the word “Halfbreed '' when we passed by a girl in the mall.
Middle school is when my eyes started to finally see what was going on around me, especially in my 8th grade government class. It was the first time that I truly knew that there was more than one way to think politically about a topic and that the conflict that I felt was normal and okay. Guns had always seemed like the most stupid item to own, church was boring compared to science, and the people that I grew to know in middle school weren’t what my family feared they would be.
An almost southern family can be a difficult one to please, especially when it comes to the three Gs: God, Guns, and Government. Their ideal way would be an unlimited amount of the first two and none of the last except to keep their gods and guns in place. I even dated a “good country boy” in high school to make them happy and when he wore his confederate flag belt buckle, it made me like him less and less. I was lucky with my friends however, a bunch of “liberal snowflakes” in the middle of GOP country.
I know there isn’t much I can do to correct my grandparents anymore, we all know how the baby boomers are these days. My mother has gotten better about it, but after 50 years some of it is bound to just stay around. Luckily Kappa Sigma Mu has helped me to gain the voice so that I can accurately try and educate others that I grew up with.
Like our motto states: Inspire minds, Open hearts.