Rosemary and the entire team at the Science & Art of Herbalism stand with the Black community and all people working to end racism
Update from Rosemary, September 2020
In showing support for Black Lives Matter, it is not our intention to say that one group matters more than another, nor to say that we necessarily support any particular organization, but rather to say that black lives do matter and are as important as other lives. At a time when there is a disproportionate number of black people being killed, incarcerated, and dying in greater numbers from the Coronavirus and other diseases, it seems to offer them support and help at this time could be valuable and meaningful not only for our black brothers and sisters, but also for all humanity. Because when we reach out and offer help and support to anyone who is struggling on the path, it helps everyone move forward. This isn’t the first time we’ve taken a strong support for groups or individuals who we felt needed help. We took a stand with the First Nation’s people of Standing Rock during the pipeline demonstrations, when they were standing up for their rights, their land and the Earth. We also offered herbal and financial support to help with the Orlando Grief Project after the tragic Pulse Night Club shootings. To name just a few of many instances…. Whenever possible, we’ve attempted in whatever small or big ways we can to help people in need regardless of color, race, gender or position in life. Perhaps because of my own background, I have a deep compassion and empathy for people (animals and all living creatures).
My grandparents were survivors of the Armenian genocide. They lost almost every member on both sides of their large close knit families; they lost their homes and their country. Yet despite the horrors they witnessed and the enormous losses they suffered, they held onto their faith and hope and continued to love and support others on their path. They were incredible role models, teaching us tolerance and acceptance, and also courage and tenacity. My Grandmother was also my first herb teacher.
Rosemary and all of us at The Science & Art of Herbalism Team
While my heart is breaking over the recent killing of George Floyd and all those who have come before him, I have also been lifted up seeing the response of so many Americans and people around the world standing up for justice. At long last, we are standing together ~ people of all colors, races, and backgrounds ~ in solidarity saying enough is enough, no more. Truth is being revealed and people are being held accountable. Our hearts go out to George Floyd and his family and all of those who are affected by the injustices of racism.
I wanted to share this uplifting message that was sent to me from Jerri Johnson, president of National Health Freedom Coalition, after she returned from the area in Minneapolis where George Floyd was murdered.
“I had the opportunity to spend time in the area of Chicago Ave. and 38th Street that has been turned into a memorial for George Floyd. The intersection has been barricaded for blocks around so there is no traffic. Hundreds of people stood around the circular array of flowers that filled the intersection. More stood around the beautiful mural depicting George Floyd and the names of many of black victims of police violence.
The mood alternated: sometimes there was upbeat music playing. Sometimes people led chants for justice. Other times it was quiet and meditative. People stood with arms around each other. Talking quietly.
Everywhere there was free food. Kiosks and grills and people cooking hamburgers and hot dogs and tacos and giving it away free. No signs saying “This food donated by…..”. Mountains of boxes of fresh produce that came from – who knows donated it? A corner store turned into an operations center and food shelf. People lined up to enter the large room, pick up paper bags and pick out what they needed for groceries. A person came by and said to a volunteer, “I have twelve cases of bottled water. Where should I put it?”
Volunteers everywhere stepping up to sort donations, direct traffic, answer questions, make announcements over a PA system. Volunteers: Native American, Latino, African American, and white all working together.
I brought with me homeopathic remedies: Arnica for injuries, Aconite for trauma, remedies for pain from tear gas. I brought quantities of Rescue Remedy. I asked around if there was a first aid station where I might volunteer to help, and was directed to a big school bus that had been donated, painted white, with red crosses on it. The seats had been removed and cots put in along with medical supplies.
I described what I had to offer and was directed to a Native American elder. I showed him information on Rescue Remedy. He read out loud the words that said, “Rescue Remedy is a combination of flower essences that is used in emergency situations to stabilize during effects of emotional trauma. It eases fear and restores one’s state of calm and confidence. He said, “We should put this in everybody’s water! Look, I’ve got all these five-gallon water jugs. We could get a table, put a sign on that tells them this water has Rescue Remedy in it and they can help themselves.”
This was the eighth day after George Floyd’s death, and the people in the first aid bus were talking about putting better flooring in the truck. This is no three-day protest: it is a community gathering site that is increasingly organized. Everywhere there was love and generosity and compassion being expressed. It was good for my soul to be there.”
President, National Health Freedom Coalition
While I’m at home caring for my 96-year-old mother at this time and not able to be on the streets marching, my heart is with the protestors and I am supporting them in whatever ways I can from ‘home base.’ For each of us to stand up to take action in whatever ways we can; whether by attending rallies and marches, donating to just causes, educating ourselves on matters of racism and racial injustice, or contributing herbal medicine and health care services where needed. We are taking a stand to help create a safer and more just world for everyone where the concept of peace and equality for all is no longer a concept, but a reality.
There really is no lack of ‘direct actions’ so search your heart, ask friends, turn to reliable resources on the internet for direction. Standing together we can be the change we wish to see.
With love and hope always,
Not sure what I could do to be of direct assistance and help, I turned to others for direction. Here’s a partial list of direct actions we can take. For your sake and the sake of others, if you should join a rally be sure to ‘take action’ to boost your immune system, wear a mask and be respectful of others who are attempting to ‘social distance’ in these very challenging times.
The List of Actions We're Starting With...
- Food and Land Justice for Black Americans
- Campaign Zero provides information on our state Representatives and where they stand, tracks progress and identifies solutions to end police violence on a on federal, state, and local level
- Here is a pledge for all Mayors’ from President Obama’s inspiring speech
- The Obama Foundation offers education material on systemic racism
- A powerful message on how to use the power of this moment to make lasting change
When possible, take action locally as well as nationally. Here in Vermont we can help by supporting farmers of color who are seeking to own their own farms and grow food for their local communities:
We also want to amplify Black voices.
We’ve begun to compile a directory of Black herbalists which we will share in this space very soon. We encourage you to follow them and support their businesses wherever possible.
We’d love to hear your recommendations for this list. Please send info to [email protected]
Whenever I’m in doubt or not sure where to turn or what to do, these words of Clarissa Pinkola Estés come to heart.
“My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times…In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Author of Women Who Run with the Wolves