Monday, November 29, 2021

Goodland Woman Trying to Make a Difference

Photos by Scott H. Shook | Goodland’s Marian Biddle.

One of Marian Biddle’s signs.

A lifelong Goodland resident, Marian Biddle, is trying to make a difference in the wake of the George Floyd death on May 25th, in Minneapolis. Here is Biddle’s story in her own words. 

About a month ago when George Floyd was killed, I was in shock. It was awful, I couldn’t believe this injustice could happen. The very people who are supposed to protect us wrongfully taking a man’s life. I believe it’s not up to anyone to take a life like that.  

As the days passed after these acts, protests spread across the nation. Other countries were speaking out in support for Black Lives.  

A movement was happening, and I knew I must help and not be silent for things that matter.  

I grew up well off. I am a white privileged middleclass American. A native-born Floridian spending my childhood years in a little fishing village called Goodland, Florida.  

Goodland, if you have heard of it, which most people haven’t, is right next to the water, and unless you come, which I do hope it stays a secret, it is one of the most unique and ecologically diverse places, being a part of the Ten Thousand Islands.  

Locals will say we are the “best kept secret.” For the most part, we are all white, but we are a good mix of people and have many different beliefs and backgrounds. The love for our town, the water, and peace is what brings us all together. “Goodland strong” is a common phrase. In times of Irma and COVID-19, our community has supported one another.  

My family has always taught us to be inclusive, have compassion for others, give to those in need, have the utmost passion for curiosity and education, and be a conscientious citizen.  

To this very day, they always lend a helping hand. The amount they donate on a local and global scale is impressive. I only hope I can be in such a place to give as much as they do. 

My past has shaped me and made me who I am today. But it’s ever evolving and changing. My old beliefs will be challenged in the future and I know I must adapt with the new knowledge I gain.  

And when George Floyd was murdered on May 25th, my whole being said I must stand up for what’s right. For me, in this time it was making green hearts and hanging them along the curvy road to Goodland, so every person coming into Goodland would see. I was moved by a group who was supporting peacefully, but also kept them safe from Coronavirus 

I reached out to people in the community and asked for help ( People joined me making the hearts. For two weeks, about 160 hearts were hung in the trees along the roadside. Some had encouraging sayings like “Black Lives Matter” and “Equality for All.” 

My hope is the hearts show support and compassion for Black Americans. They show the people of Goodland we can be advocates for justice and equity. We can step outside of our comfort zone and stand with Black Americans in the pain they have now endured for hundreds of years.  

Living in a place with many different thoughts, my hope is the hearts can help educate and encourage our community to ask questions and have conversations with people that are different from them. And they might see in the end we are all human, not 3/5’s human.  

Because right now, Black Americans are saying their lives matter, too. Historically it hasn’t been that way.  

Malcolm X said it perfectly: “We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.” 

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