In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, two local people spoke with one another. Carol Dobbs is from Trinidad and the owner of C. Dobbs, a Corona del Mar boutique, and Christian Mungai is from Kenya, the Pastor of Global Outreach at Mariners Church. They began sharing their stories and soon decided to find a way to talk about with other what was happening across America.
Carol and Christian organized a core planning group, including Karen Clark, Makumi Muriu, Jean Snowden, and Dan and Jeanie Ardell. The group was named Bleed the Same. The goal was to foster educational and open conversations surrounding the question, “Is there systemic racism in America?” And if so, what might we do about it?
With Carol moderating, Christian and Jeanie spoke about their perspectives on the issue at an initial talk on July 31. Several in the audience signed up to host a conversation at their homes, socially distanced outdoors. Since then we have continued the conversations from Seal Beach to Newport Beach, with more planned. Later this fall a Zoom Town Hall meeting is planned for all who are interested in taking part.
Bleed the Same does not promote these conversations as political or church events. Our commitment is that this will continue to be a safe environment. Everyone has a place at the table. All questions and opinions expressed will be respected.
JEAN SNOWDEN BIO:
As an educator in Michigan Public Schools for over 25 years, I have spent my life dedicated to fostering the knowledge, self esteem and life skills in America’s youth. From music, to 3rd grade and eventually 5th, I have seen first hand how education shapes the world view of young minds. I only wish that my own understanding of racial history had come sooner. Perhaps then I could have done even more to ensure that the students I touched learned more about how individual beliefs become actions in our communities, and grow to become systems at large that either serve to support or oppress other members of our society.
Despite teaching in an integrated school system, I have always lived in predominantly white neighborhoods, surrounded by white friends and family. I now live in CDM and find myself again in a similar bubble. Yet, I have an integrated family now and have learned a great deal about how different my lived experience has been from that of my son-in-law and other black Americans. My eyes have been opened to harsh realities through discourse, reading, watching and listening to the stories of those who have been subjected to racism. And now I can no longer let another day go by without using my voice and my resources to help right the wrongs in some small way. Returning to my foundations in education and sharing what I am learning with those in my community, opening my home and my heart to fostering difficult discussions, seems like an important place to start.