Disclaimer: If this post offends and upsets you but doesn’t pierce your heart, it’s okay. Everything I write is coming from a place of love and the optimistic hope that you will try to see things through my eyes. It’s up to to you if you decide to change.
I’m usually the quiet one, the one who avoids conflict and confrontation, the one trying to keep the peace. Usually that works for me, but not always. Sometimes it hurts my soul to be quiet; sometimes (like this time) I can physically feel the pain in my chest and it won’t allow me to be silent.
So what do I do when I need to get things off my chest? This is what I do. I write it out, spill my feelings all over the page. Sometimes I keep it to myself and sometimes (like this time) I share for all to see. This time is different. This time I am hoping to disturb the peace. This time I can’t sit back and not say something. This time the stakes are too high, the hurt is too deep, and it’s been going on for too long. What’s the problem?
There are still too many of you WHO DON’T GET IT!
At first, I was shocked and amazed by the number of people who didn’t get it. Then I was saddened and hurt by it. Now I’m angry…uneasy…unable to rest. There is no way you can see the same things I’m seeing, hear the same things I’m hearing, and still have the same attitude that you’ve always had. YOU CAN’T!
I think what has pushed me over the edge the most is the fact that I’ve read comments where people have actually referred to those involved in the movement as being crybabies and whiners who need to get over it and let the past be the past. ARE YOU SERIOUS?! All that is happening here in America and across the world is not in response to a single, isolated incident. How do you just “get over” 400 years of unfair treatment? 400 years of unjust treatment that have not gotten better despite what others want us to believe?
It’s the same injustice just with a different name.
Then there are some of you who have more concern about a statue and the name on a building or of a city than you do with the basic human rights of your neighbor. Some of you have yet to speak up about the death of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor but you have the time to rant and rave over the statue of a known slave-owner who fought against his own country or to defend a man who is currently dividing our country. I am truly baffled.
Let me give you an example of why making these changes are important. Have you ever watched a home remodeling show? Think HGTV. When they remodel a home, do they keep the old appliances, broken down HVAC system, and beat up furniture? No. They do what they can to preserve the charm and history of the house, but they get rid of the old unsightly items that no longer serve the purpose and vision of the new home. They work hard to right all of the wrong about the home. The old is made new. Now do you get it?
What makes it even worse is that some of you even have the nerves to question why we’ve never spoken up about these things before? Why are we just now complaining and petitioning for change?
Do you really think we’ve been silent all of this time? We’ve been protesting our treatment from the beginning.
When we jumped overboard rather than be enslaved, we were protesting.
When we dared to follow that North Star even when threatened with severe punishment or even death, we were protesting.
When we started our own schools and educated ourselves because we weren’t accepted elsewhere, we were protesting.
When we sat at the counter in a diner while being verbally and physically abused, we were protesting.
When we dared to be the only person of color in a hostile environment in order to integrate a school, we were protesting.
When we moved into neighborhoods where we weren’t welcomed in order to give our families better opportunities, we were protesting.
When we rapped the words to “Fight the Power” or screamed the chant “I’m Black and I’m Proud,” we were protesting.
When we wore our shirts and hats and pins proclaiming our greatness and the love of our skin, we were protesting.
When we took a knee during the Anthem, we were protesting.
When we added yet another name to a too long list of hashtags, we were protesting.
We’ve been screaming from the rooftops for over 400 years that we want to be treated the same. How is that not speaking up? How is that not complaining?
Now is the first time it seems the county and the world have been listening, learning, awakening, changing, and growing. And it’s given us the confidence to push even harder and believe even more than before.
Yet some of you actually seem upset by this and that disturbs me.
Some of you are close to me but don’t feel the need to fight for me or my husband or my boys.
I could be the next Sandra Bland.
My husband could be the next Ahmaud Arbery.
My oldest son could be the next Elijah McClain.
My youngest could be the next Tamir Rice.
I see a part of us in each one of those stories and that scares me. Scares me EVERY SINGLE DAY. I shouldn’t have to live with that type of fear.
I shouldn’t have friends who aren’t bothered that I have to live with that type of fear.
The revolution is going to happen with or without you. This country has been fighting against this change for far too long and the people are tired.
I’m tired. And I’m going to speak up the best way I know how.
From my heart to my pen to my paper to my keyboard.
I am protesting in my own way.
What will it take for you to fight beside me?