I am the direct beneficiary of 400 years of white privilege in America that has denied people of color their God-given right to human dignity. I had the privilege to attend private schools; to have parents and grandparents with degrees and advantages routinely denied to their Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native contemporaries, and to work in the financial services industry, which has repeatedly fallen short of diversity goals.

In the days since George Floyd’s murder, I’ve been dismayed by the belief among my fellow White Americans that sharing a social media post is enough to demonstrate one’s “wokeness.” Instagram stories, Facebook posts and Snaps pale in comparison to the work we must undertake to recognize the systemic and violent racism that has led us to this point.

I’ve been proud through the last seven years to have devoted time to organizations like Maine Youth Court, which seeks to reverse the school-to-prison pipeline through restorative justice practices that dismantle the equation of poverty and color equaling guilt, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Syracuse, New York, which provide a safe place for young people of color to actualize a strong, supportive, educated future in the census tracts with the highest concentration of black poverty in America.

My volunteer opportunities are an incredibly small commitment, but I offer them as concrete first steps. It’s long past time for us as White Americans and Mainers to step up and engage beyond the comfortable parameters of social media. The future of our city, our state and our country depends on it.

Eamonn Dundon


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