May We Grow Together
By Michael Crespo
We live in an interesting time. 2020 has turned out to be a very challenging year for many of us on all kinds of levels. Many of us have heard of the term 20/20 vision. Contrary to popular belief it doesn’t mean that you have perfect eyesight. The 20/20 vision test is a test of your visual acuity or visual sharpness and clarity. When a person has 20/20 vision that means they can clearly see an object from a distance of 20 feet away compared to other people.
2020 is proving to be a time for reflection and introspection. With the pandemic, we are forced to look at our lives from a different viewpoint. Removed from our daily routines it has been almost like viewing our lives from a 20-foot vantage point. For some of us, we may have been able to see things with more acuity.
With the death of George Floyd, the realities of racial injustice were brought into glaringly clear view. Racism exists everywhere, and at all levels. Some of us are fortunate to live in particular parts of the country where we may not experience it to nearly the full degree of evil that others do. Some of us may not experience it because of our race and because we haven’t experienced it may be reluctant to accept that it exists. Just because it may not be our reality, doesn’t mean that it isn’t someone else’s. Check out this film based on a true story of life in one Alabaman county in the 90s. Not too long ago at all. We would be naive to think that racism has been quelled so quickly.
For those of us that aren’t aware of what it is like to wear someone’s shoes, it is our duty to research and learn so that we may better understand our fellow man. If we do not it is easy to use our own limited capacities to assume that we know everything about everyone. Without taking the time to learn about a subject whether that subject is astronomy, or a people, or one person we are as ignorant to the subject as those who came before Copernicus that believed that the universe revolved around The Earth rather than The Sun.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve come to see that ignorance is not bliss as the famous saying goes, but rather ignorance is pain bottled up and released in the form of anger. To that light, our country has become a battleground where many condemn those who do not take an extremely polarized view of an issue.
This is extremely unfair and inaccurate. Black Lives Matter. 110% agreeing with the Black Lives Matter movement does not mean you are Anti-Cop. Supporting our police officers and saying their acknowledging good cops does not mean that you are racist or against racial equality. To that end, it doesn’t mean that bad cops don’t exist, and it also doesn’t mean that there isn’t a need for changing the system. We all have our bias for whatever reason. Maybe we are a police officer or former police officer. Maybe we are a person of color. What happens if we are both? We can support both good police officers and racial equality.
In our community, we have many police officers that are good people. I sincerely believe with all my heart that they are good police officers. I have met many bad ones in my life trust me. I’ve been punched in the face. I’ve had my rights messed with. I can read people. But our police officers are good ones, and I am proud to say we stand by them. We also stand by every person of color in our community and the world. We believe in equality, inclusivity, and justice for all. Saying that we stand for such without taking any action, however, is lip service and doesn’t lead to change.
I know that for myself when I began Connected Fitness Novato, I was gifted a level 1 by Connected Fitness HQ to help start a class at a drug program. When I moved to Novato, the Reverend Andy Boone took me in under a scholarship so that I could intern and train at Connected Fitness Novato. Without that opportunity, I would’ve never had the chance to be on the path I’m on. I grew up in a family where fitness wasn’t a priority. Also, my parents are both immigrants who grew up in poverty. So from that perspective paying $150-$200 bucks wasn’t something that I could ever afford, even though as a coach I know just how worth it paying that price is for 5 different reasons.
The biggest problem I see with race in the Affiliate community is a lack of diversification because of economic hardships. Following the footsteps of The Reverend Andy, we continue to maintain a scholarship program for those who are less fortunate at our affiliate. So that anyone who seeks quality health and fitness coaching can have that opportunity if they really want it. But understand this, it isn’t a perfect solution just something we try to do to make a difference. Our hopes are that we will help some person in need in their journey to being the best version of themselves. But the reality is some people don’t have the time to work out due to economic hardships. That’s the reality they know.
It’s easy for us to condemn people. More so now with the advent of social media and the state of our political system. It’s easy for us to say well if so and so did this, then they could do that. The reality is you don’t know what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. So unless you have, you may indeed have your own opinions but please don’t try to discredit or invalidate the opinions and experiences of others.
Our community at CFN has always been about inclusivity. Not once did I feel out of place except for maybe initially because I didn’t know anyone, but that didn’t last long. Now I have an extended family. The police officers in our community are my brothers and sisters. So are the white people. So are the colored people.
While the world goes crazy outside we will always strive to be the eye of the storm. A place where ALL PEOPLE ARE WELCOME regardless of color, profession, and even political party. We will always strive to be a place where for one hour of the day, all of those different people can sweat alongside each other and share collective eustress from which they grow together. The world may not be perfect, neither are we, but we are blessed to have each other.
Today we did a workout that honors George Floyd. Tomorrow we do one that honors the LEOs in our community. The movements today honored Mr.Floyd’s 46 years on this earth and ended with an overhead hold. Tomorrow’s workout is based on 3 police officers from our community and their favorite movements. For me, workout programming transcends simply making workouts for improved fitness. I believe they are a form of art and art is a means through which you can express culture and the times.
One of the things a friend told me when I was incarcerated for the first time was that it always gets worse before it gets better. That didn’t really make sense at the time but it proved to be true in my life. That time I was released, then incarcerated, then sent to a program to change my life and now I am the leader of our community. I think the current state of everything is the same. It is really bad, but it will get better. Change becomes necessary when the present circumstances are no longer acceptable.