As I write this, the funeral for George Floyd is happening in Minneapolis.  His murder is the touchstone and rallying cry for thousands (if not millions) to defeat systemic racism around the world. I didn’t choose to be white just like George Floyd didn’t choose to be black. Every single day, black men and women face discrimination and are being killed for something that they had no control over.. for just being themselves. It’s terrifying and should outrage us all.

One of my dear friends, a woman that I admire and respect, married a black man and has raised the three amazing and very accomplished children. Her husband was a highly respected and now retired Fire Chief in a major city on the west coast. She shared with me that several years ago he was pulled over at gun point by the police. He wasn’t speeding. He hadn’t done anything wrong. He was racially profiled. Their guns didn’t come down until they found his badge in his pocket. Disgraceful.

People aren’t born racists. They learn to be a racist. The children of racist parents are taught that they are better than other children. They are taught to hate, to taunt and to hurt others. I am disgusted that white supremacists have been given a green light by a president whose legacy of racism is clearly seen. (The Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry, The Atlantic – June 2019) This has been a cancer on our national soul.

Anyone with an ounce of education knows that skin color evolved over thousands of years as mankind moved around the world. There was no choice to be made. Darker skin tones evolved in sunnier climates because it was exposed to intense, year round UV rays. Norway and Sweden, the home of my ancestors, had much less sun exposure as exemplified by my red hair and pale skin.  And, honestly, who the hell cares? Underneath the many colors of our skin, we have the same muscles, organs, nerves and blood. We have the same dreams, heartaches, love of family, friends, parents and community. The anguish that generations of black mothers and fathers have faced sending their children into this unsafe world and the rage that they are entitled to feel if that child is injured or killed is undeniable. It’s not right. We have to stop this once and for all.

My life is devoted to helping anyone struggling with pelvic pain. I work with patients of all races daily. I can testify, first hand, to the lesser care and respect that patients with pelvic pain have received over the years with disrespectful doctors and unforgiving employers who deny leave for medical treatment and care. But I don’t know what the life of a black IC patient is like and I should know. I want you to receive the best possible care. I want to advocate for you. I want to stand beside you. I pledge that I will use my voice to help you in any obstacles and challenges that you face. Your life matters.

As Benjamin Lupo recently said “#BlackLivesMatter is not a temporary trend. It is not a “phase.” It is not a one time thing. It is the way it always should have been and should always be. It does not mean that the value of the life of someone who is white is less than that of someone who is black. It means the life of a black man or woman has as much value and should be treated as such. It is a movement that will benefit everyone. There is no downside.” 

Please feel free to unfollow the ICN if you dislike this post. This is right for me. This is right for my company. This is right for the hundreds of thousands of IC patients of all races that we represent.

Jill Heidi Osborne MA
Founder – Interstitial Cystitis Network