At Gridbook, we do our best to provide a fun, entertaining, and educational atmosphere for all of our percussion family and friends. And when things in the world get crazy we do our best to be an escape, a place to center focus, and regroup happiness in the face of adversity.
But the climate of current events in this country are so outrageous we feel the need to interrupt that escape, to provide a clear message of support for those being oppressed.
This following message is from Gridbook Co-Founder Mark Perrett.
As a white man, I understand that I am privileged simply because of the color of my skin. This has nothing to do with me, my actions, or my beliefs. It is something that, if I did not purposefully look for, I wouldn’t even know it was happening.
I have endured hardships, and there are things in my life that have not been easy for me, but even my biggest moments of adversity have never been as a result of me being white.
I have never feared for my life when getting pulled over, people do not walk on the other side of the street when they see me, I have no fear traveling to any part of the world, People do not suspect me of stealing, I can wear anything I want in public and have never been questioned about what I’m doing, where I’m going, or what my motives are.
And if you are white, you may not see how any of these things would be an issue. Because the following situations are common sense:
If you haven’t done anything wrong, you shouldn’t be afraid of the police.
If you don’t look suspicious, people won’t walk on the other side of the street when they see you.
As long as you’re polite, traveling to any part of the world shouldn’t be an issue.
I would never steal anything, so people shouldn’t suspect me of stealing.
I shouldn’t be questioned or a suspect for wearing a hoodie, it’s cold outside!
But the issue is, regardless of common sense, black people are targeted and treated different simply because of the color of their skin. I have seen this first hand as many of my best friends all my life have been black.
And this racism isn’t something I assume is happening to my friends, or something I have heard stories about, but have been a witness during the act. I have been followed by security in stores when my black friends are with me, I have been a passenger while my friends get pulled over and questioned in unnecessary ways, and I have been in crowds of white people who, when nobody is looking, say racist, assumptive things about black people.
It is disgusting and needs to stop.
In my personal and professional life I do not discriminate against anyone or make judgments about them based on their race, religion, color of their skin, sexual preference, age, body type, religion, or beliefs. But I am aware that certain groups are less privileged than I am and I do my best to provide opportunities for anyone who is willing to work hard and push themselves to be better.
So I say this to my fellow humans in this world:
PLEASE BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER.
Do not make assumptions about people you do not know, for any reason. Base your opinions of others on their specific actions. Do not generalize people based on your perception of that group. Have empathy for others and respect others even if they look different than you, act different than you, or have conflicting opinions than you.
We must do better.
And my goal with this message is not to say that I know best, or to “show” how much I care, and it would be much easier for me to not say anything, because I am not the one being oppressed, it is to simply add another voice to the message of peace and love among all human beings.
We might not have a huge following, but I do understand the demographic of our followers, many of which are white high school boys, and I hope to influence them in the best way possible. I hope to bring awareness to issues that may not be obvious to them.
I do not support racism of any kind.
I do not support police brutality of any kind.
It is, and always will be, my priority to be a good person.
This does not ignore or downplay the adversity of other races/genders/groups. This is simply a megaphone of support for my black friends and family.
Because Black Lives Matter.
Gridbook Percussion Co-Founder
LINKS TO DIVE DEEPER:
This issue is very REAL and is something that affects us all. Because at the end of the day the percussion community is not just filled with performers, but with PEOPLE. And it is our goal to be great people first, and great performers second. Even if this doesn't directly apply to you, we all play a role in keeping the world a safe, fair place to live. I encourage you to do your own research involving systemic racism and equality.
I have personally been listening, learning, and diving deeper into this topic to better inform myself so we can continue evolving in a progressive way here at Gridbook. This is not an all inclusive list, but here are some links to articles and social posts I have found to at least get the conversation headed in the right direction.
#1 - The following links may contain mature/graphic or controversial topics/imagery. (As most historical events involving civil rights are disturbing.) If you are under 18, please search through these resources with a parent or legal guardian.
#2 - None of the links shared below are entities of Gridbook Percussion, nor is Gridbook claiming ownership over them. We are simply using our platform to help streamline the information for those who may benefit from it.
#3 - Everyone has different opinions on a variety of topics. And the topic of Systemic Racism is complex. Remember, as you spend time educating yourself on this subject, be kind in your interactions, and even if something goes against your personal beliefs, we ask you maintain the core value of LOVE OVER HATE in the way you communicate, debate, and interact with others at all times.
Click on the images below to view full articles, websites, videos, and social media posts from the original sources.