The Pelikan’s Perch has long striven to be apolitical, preferring to focus on pens and not politics. While I am not without conviction, I have never felt it appropriate to espouse my personal views on this forum. While I will continue to refrain from doing so on a regular basis, I would like to make it a point to acknowledge the exceptional pain and anger that we see bubbling over in our communities. Silence is no longer a luxury that any of us can afford. Since the earliest days of our country, people of color have long had to deal with systemic racism, whether overt, insidious or structural, as well as brutality suffered at the hands of those in positions of power. I have seen firsthand what racism looks like from the vantage of my white privilege. I grew up with it every day of my life and yet I do not hate the way I was taught to hate. I long ago made the decision to not discriminate, to not judge, and to not hate solely based upon the color of one’s skin. Despite that, I have no doubt that I have been passively complicit in furthering racism within our culture. By choosing to not see color, we marginalize and invalidate the racist experiences that those of color encounter on a daily basis, thereby contributing to the problem. I am not a perfect human being, none amongst us are. We all make mistakes and will continue to do so. We need to learn from those mistakes, to recognize that we must do better, to strive for empathy, and to never settle for complacency within ourselves for as long as people continue to be discriminated against.
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Racism and discrimination are a daily presence in our lives and the fountain pen community is not immune from these scourges. I stand in solidarity with the entire African American community in condemning the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and the innumerable others from the Black community who have suffered or lost their lives as a result of this brutality. As a physician, I have come to understand that all life has value and I mourn for each and every life that is shortened by the institutional racism that permeates the very soul of this great nation. I hope that you will stand with me in denouncing racialized violence and work to upend the culture of oppression that exist today, both domestically and abroad. Each of us must examine our conduct and values in order to ensure that we lift each other up until no one remains shackled by inequality. There are no easy answers but we can start by being engaged and striving to be a part of the solution.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.