Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in a world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing. – Muhammad Ali
Is changing our world impossible? I know it’s easy for us to get tired and overwhelmed and start to believe it is. We can easily feel we have no power, or certainly not enough, to make a dent much less change the way things are and have been for so long – long before anyone reading this essay was born. Long before our parents and grandparents and their grandparents were born.
Here’s what I want to remind us of when Impossible feels bigger and badder than Possible:
Ali says Impossible is “an opinion.” That’s certainly true and we are choosing to shoulder the opinion of Possible and stand in the truth of it.
He says it’s “a dare.” We, along with millions of other people in this country and across the world, are willing to take that dare and go where that dare leads us.
He describes Impossible as “potential.” Well, so is Possible. That’s the potential we’re interested in. That’s the pilot light we want to fire up in other people with our words and actions.
Impossible, he says, is “temporary.” It’s those dark times when we feel doubt and even despair creeping in. Everyone who fights for equality and justice experiences those times. But they pass if we don’t buy into them and when we move ourselves into action. When these dark days pass, the light returns and we come back to the Possible that is permanent, that is Now.
Last and most importantly, Ali tells us that Impossible is nothing. Nothing! That’s what I want to shout from a rooftop. IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING! When we feel it, when we think it, it is just that – a feeling, a thought.
To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.
What goes beyond thought and feeling is the Possibility we bring to this struggle to eradicate racism once and for all. It’s the Possibility that, not just through our attitudes and beliefs, but through our actions, hearts and minds can change and that someday, people everywhere will awaken and see the non-negotiable right for equality, justice and freedom for everyone.
Here is a list of books which many people are finding helpful these days. We hope you will find it useful in your own journey as an ally in the struggle against systemic racism. (They are not listed in any particular order.)
Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to be White by Daniel Hill
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin Diangelo