We have been waiting to say anything about the current protests on our social media channels because honestly, I have been busy listening. Over the past couple of days, I have listened to and absorbed many heartfelt Black Lives Matters statements from our nation’s Black leaders.
This is a movement that lays bare many difficult realities that our fellow Black citizens face every day. It reminds us that institutional racism is always here. It reminds us that white privilege is real. A few years ago, I struggled with understanding my own.
In 2001, I opened my first business and when I went into the bank with all my fancy ideas for a wine bar in Lafayette Square they looked at me and asked, “How much money do you have?” I was perplexed, I am here because you are the bank, you have the money. The bank wasn’t going to lend money to me until I had money. I then had to ask my parents, who took money out of their house and lent it to me so I could get a loan from the bank for the money needed to open my business. Without that first loan I never would have been able to open my first business and definitely would not be able to open the ridiculously capital-intensive Civil Life.
That is white privilege and a textbook transfer of generational wealth that opened up a door for me. I accept it. It doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t take anything away from my parents who worked hard to put away money and provide for me. It doesn’t mean I haven’t worked hard. It just means things were certainly easier for me than for many equally or more talented Black men or women. Once I accepted and understood my privilege, I found it in me to try and do more. But most importantly to listen more.
The Black Lives Matter movement will continue to open eyes and gather supporters. If you haven’t, please listen to their voices and stories. These stories are important reminders that we all have work to do to make this an equitable society. We must use this moment in time to chart a new course and it will take all of us to achieve this. I suspect the road will be long. There is no simple fix to well over a hundred years of injustice. But, we must not wait and we must not become complacent in our pursuit.
The protests will slow down over the coming days and weeks. But let’s not wait for the next atrocity to happen to our fellow Black Americans to do something. Let’s listen deeply now and put in motion in each of our lives a path so we can begin healing our country and make much needed progress towards an equitable, fair and civil society. Let us collectively support stronger efforts to address inequities in health care, education and housing felt by Black Americans and lower income Americans.
We support many causes throughout the year that reach out to our fellow Black citizens. But we are not doing enough, and we are going to build on it going forward to make our City a better city.
I myself am going to continue to listen and learn from the Black Lives Matter movement.
Be Civil. Be Kind. And let’s push forward towards an equitable world.
PS. I am taking a bit off of social media during this as you may have noticed. If I have been doing things right, all of our regular customers already know 100% where we stand on these issues. I will be listening and reading as much as I can over the coming months and years to make sure I have heard and am able to support this movement in ways that I haven’t before. Our Civil Life customers are some of the most generous, thoughtful people I have ever met. All of us are needed to be instruments of change.
The Civil Blog has returned. It is predominantly authored by Civil Life Barman, Dr. Patrick Hurley, who can be found tending to our bar patrons on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He is also responsible for tending to our draft lines, which is recognized as one of our most important tasks. Special guest writers will appear from time to time. We hope reading this blog will give you much insight about the Civil Life and most importantly help you understand a bit more about all of us that work here and the beers we put our hearts into.