I'm tired. I don't care if I sound grump. Or picky. Or like a dreamer. Naive. Crunchy-granola. I don't care if I sound like whatever anyone might say to undermine what I'm about to write. I'm just tired of hearing the stories I keep hearing. Seeing the same documentaries made decade after decade. The same article headlines. The same FB posts. We need to change the narrative.
History books that tell the truth.
The Native Americans did not simply decide to move when Europeans showed up on the shores. This is wrong. People brought from Africa to the United States as a part of the slave trade were not "workers." They were enslaved. This is also wrong. It is unacceptable that either narrative was ever written.
We need history books that tell the truth. The good, bad, and the ugly. About slavery. About the legacy of Natives. About how all other people in the U.S. are immigrants. About how no one today is "illegal" or an "alien."
Learn More: How Textbooks Can Teach Different Versions of History
Meditation instead of detention.
There are many issues impacting our schools these days. In the midst of them all: Students are stressed. Teachers are stressed. Conflict is bound to happen. How do we respond?
Detention. In school suspension. Out of school suspension. These are the tactics we're familiar with. But are they really working? Or are they new outlets for discrimination?
What more productive ways are there to deal with student behavior? This school's trying meditation. And? Suspension rates have dropped. And attendance has gone up. Why are we so hesitant to initiative these kinds of practices? What do we have to lose?
Learn more: A Whole School Approach to Behavior Issues; When Schools Meet Trauma With Understanding, Not Discipline
A restructured criminal justice system.
We've become increasingly aware over the past few years of just how broken our criminal justice system is: the criminalization of black men, ineffective public defenders, the financial realities of mass incarceration, and then... does incarceration even really do what it's supposed to do? Does it prevent crime? Does it restore those who once committed a crime, so that they can re-enter our communities and thrive?
I want well-trained police officers. I want effective public defenders. I want justice for everyone regardless of color, money, gender, or anything. I want a system that invests in the better for people, not creates cycles of loss.
Learn more: What Can the U.S. Do About Mass Incarceration; How to Fix America's Mass Incarceration Problem
I'm not just talking about mass shootings. I'm talking about all gun-related homicides (including mass shootings, gang violence, domestic violence), accidental shootings, police-involved shootings, and suicides. We have a problem in the U.S. with all of these.
Fewer guns won't solve crime; it won't rid us of violence. But it will make both far less lethal. It will mean that some people will live longer lives, who otherwise may die.
Learn more: The Gun Show; Timeline: Mass Shootings in the U.S.; Guns; What If We Treated Gun Violence Like A Public Health Crisis?
Safe, affordable, individualized healthcare.
I wish healthcare was like Netflix, or Verizon. I wish I could go online, open my account, type in my area code, and see a selection of doctors, of various specialities, that I could just subscribe to monthly; maybe with a certain package, like my phone has 2-8GB or unlimited data plans.
I realize the realities of health care are much more complex for real reasons that make sense. Buuuut also power, money and politics. It could be better.
Learn more: Introduction to the U.S. Health Care System; How Racism Makes Us Sick; What the Health (podcast)
More grassroots crowdfunding.
The older I become, the more it seems to me like we — those of us who want to do radical, social change work — can't depend on traditional sources of funding to do our work.
The people who have the most money in our communities seem to rarely share our interests and convictions, while those who do rarely have much money. Separately at least. Together, I'm confident we have a lot to offer.
That's why I love Kickstarter, and Indiegogo, and GoFundMe. But still... what if we just got together and hosted dinners where everyone showed up with $25 and knew — personally knew — the people and organizations they were giving to? We've done this kind of thing before. I want to see it even more.
My list could have easily gone on, but I digress. My mind, for now, is settled. What kinds of things would you like to see happen in your lifetime? Share in the comments below!