It hurts right now and I want someone to make it stop.
We’ve seen this before. When George Floyd was murdered I thought, “I’m glad they at least got this one on camera.” But I wasn’t shocked, that part left a long time ago.
I might have been shocked when Trayvon Martin was killed. Maybe a little when Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her home. When Walter Scott was shot in the back, when Alton Sterling was killed for selling CDs. Maybe there was a little left when Michael Brown was shot in the back twelve times and killed. When Freddie Gray was beaten to death in a police van. It was pretty much gone when Ahmaud Arbery was murdered while jogging.
What a terrible thought, and a horrible realization. I wasn’t surprised to see a man murdered, and I wasn’t surprised to see other people stand around watching. The man’s crime was being black, and I’ve known for a long time what the sentence can be.
I live here and I don’t feel safe. I’ve committed the same crime of being black. If I get pulled over, I could die. Better make sure my taillights work.
That’s not new, and neither is the pain of it. The only thing new is people paying attention to it.
I’m glad the national conversation has turned towards police brutality and institutional racism. I only wish so many of us didn’t have to die to make that happen.
I almost feel grief. But grief is something you feel about events in the past. This is still happening. I still wonder if the cop that pulls me over is going to take my life because he’s having a bad day. I wonder if a lawyer is going to tell my mom “sorry, but we won’t be able to press charges.”
I wonder what it’s like to feel like you belong.
I’m struggling to move forward. I don’t know what forward looks like. I fully expect these protests to go on for a few more days, and then for people to forget and go back to their regular lives. I hope I’m wrong but I’m not holding my breath.
Though I’m struggling to move forward, the love I’ve received, the check-ins, the support, they’re helping. They remind me that if any good comes out of all this, it will come from us together.
If you’re another minority, if you’re a woman, if you got made fun of in school, if you’re queer, if you’re short, if you’re different – we’re on the same team. Maybe remembering that will get us somewhere.
Tell someone you love them today. Let them know, in your own words, you’ve got their back. I don’t know what’s coming next but I do know none of us can face it alone.