An introduction to our Saint’s Coach.
Richmond is toxic right now.
I am not talking about the pollen that has descended upon us, even though we rank №10 in the nation’s worse cities for allergies.
I won’t even mention the toxic, white supremacist problems we face everyday from top to bottom in Virginia, after all our very own Governor still refuses to step down from office after leaked photos of him either wearing blackface or a KKK hood on an old yearbook picture surfaced in a crappy alt right publication earlier this year. We know that this machination is fueled by hatred and it bleeds toxic waste in the forms of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia and we know that privileged people in power are more likely to be toxic themselves. Ralph proved what People of Color have known for a long time: Republican or Democrat, it is like two wings of the same bird, and at the end of that day, this bird pecks at marginalized communities.
After February’s explosive exposure of Virginia’s Democratic party leaders and the way the party continued to support extremely problematic figures, bigger questions about accountability within the party have created paths for conversations moving forward.
Goes without saying that people can change, we all do!
Some of the most rewarding of the wonderful work being done here at Saint Solaris LLC, is that we help being and shape conversations and provide training and information for people ready to do the walk before the talk and not after they stumble.
That being said, people that have not done the work to change yet still have the opportunity with every lived day to continue growing and learning from our histories and mistakes while moving forward; I do not believe that anyone asking the current Governor to resign denies him that process of growth and change. Indeed I see a lot of people willing to take on the role of teaching. Restorative justice teaches us to not throw people away and I believe that to the core. Honestly I hope that Northam does that work. But not while he is in office though. Our taxes do not pay him a salary so he can sit around the most powerful chair in Virginia to read The New Jim Crow (Look out for our Friday reads posts on FB for our cyber reading club ft. this book in pdf form) and take selfies.
Virginians hard work should not allow him and his wife to live lavishly and hand out cotton plants to our Black and Brown school children as he continues to take money from Dominion. They can undo their ignorance and bias outside of that space without the power they wield and the impact that their ignorance has in the lives of POC instead of using Native and Black folk for photo ops on his media road to empty redemption.
One thing that Northam’s behavior has taught Virginia is that people whom have certain privileges can be willful or blissfully ignorant about the way the scales are tipped. Both types of ignorances take enough outside awareness and self awareness to see how society treats folks and actively chose to not care or be in opposition to change, both choose to ignore the ways in which society treats folk; they convince themselves into believing bias does not exist or choose to ignore what they witness in order to continue living in comfort.
I admire people that have both self and outside awareness: They are the new healers and councilors.
My new friend and Lana’s BFF Scheldon is like that — He is very empathetic, in tuned with people and spaces’ energies.
This makes him a good friend and an amazing team manager, more like the Saint’s Coach. Scheldon thinks of little sweet details like getting the team members flowers if we are down and the bigger picture, like how dynamics and power in certain business situations work and how he can care for both Saint Solaris, what we stand for in our values and each member of the team. Scheldon’s career is impressive and extensive, from working for the American Lung Association to working with the NFL and most recently on Beto’s campaign in Texas, he is an expert strategist and communicator. He is also a sought after lawyer, and in another life worked as a persecutor before giving up all comfort in order to work in social justice down here in the grassroots, because of all he has seen and done and given up, Scheldon is an amazing protector of our values. He keeps us grounded and thinking of bigger picture.
I think the idea of protection as noble, peak non toxic masculinity (I also think masculinity is fluid and whatever meaning it hold for each of us is a valid one!) I do not mean protection the way that society has twisted it into toxic masculinity practices of over zealousness, stalkish behavior and territorial jealousy. At worse, we witness aggressions of all forms in the name of machismo — prom season is a mild example coming upon us, as we are prone to see on social media photos of dads with shotguns ‘protecting’ their child’s conceptual virtue based on an antiquated patriarchal system that literally used to put prices on the perceived purity of young women’s and trans men bodies which has nothing to do with biology nor morality.
Being around someone so positive, so excellent and so hard driven as Scheldon is to not only eschew the toxic masculinity around us but call it out and offer solutions. As a man, Scheldon could conform to toxic masculinity and this could afford him many more privileges and ease within this patriarchal system. If only he could just allow other men in his life to carry on with their toxicity unchecked.
But he doesn’t do that, instead he works incredibly hard to undo that which could stand to benefit him at the cost of our people. His education, leadership and care for protection of marginalized folks despite how much labor he has to put in to dismantle the systems of oppression that keep our People down, makes me want to be a better more noble man myself.
Saint Scheldon is so rad, let’s welcome him to Virginia together!