Today, I am writing this with a heavy heart. I am writing with the burden of tears that are hard to shed and words I can barely get out. I do not even know where to begin.
Last night, I went on Twitter to read through my timeline, and I see the hashtag #AltonSterling. My heart sinks. Talk about a hard plummet when I see the video that is circulating around Twitter. I just watched an unarmed man lose his life to the police. AGAIN, BUT LIVE THIS TIME.
So, here I am. I cannot sleep because I am trying to process my raging emotions and really what the hell is going on. Why do these times still feel like the 1960s and prior? I am staring into space because I cannot begin to fathom why racism is so deeply embedded in America. It is like a virus, neatly tucked away while simultaneously destroying everything in its path, adapting to a new environment, and stronger than ever.
On June 26th, I tweeted, “Trayvon. Mike. Eric. Sandra. Tamir. We will never forget you. #BLM.” Yesterday, someone replied, “I bathe in your victim tears.” VERBATIM. The sad thing about it is that a part of me (and countless other faces that look like mine) is desensitized to it. We must not be. This is a PSA: if black people are not privy to the status quo that is being black in America, please WAKE UP because these are perilous times that we are living in.
Why do we have a chip on our shoulder, they ask. Why do we always talk about race? Why are we always so angry? Why are we always saying and repeating the hashtag Black Lives Matter? Let me tell you about our lives: we do this because of what happened last night. It is the day after Independence Day, and another black life is taken. Is there a quota? When will enough be enough?
Our ancestors lived through turmoil, marched, sang, and prayed for us. They were beaten and killed so that we could have a better life. Our generation has seen a black president, seen social media grow, evolve, and take on virtual life before our eyes, but now our names are reduced to hashtags that will live in infamy. The suits in blue get paid leaves of absences and their trials are thrown out or acquitted.
I sound like a broken record. This cannot be the new norm.
Am I angry? HELL YES! Frustrated, confused? HOW COULD I NOT BE? My heart is heavy, but my resolve is not broken.
Rosa Parks’ civil disobedience was one of the catalysts that sparked the Civil Rights Movement. After she refused to get off that bus, black people in Montgomery, Alabama boycotted public transportation. Mother Pollard was one of the people who boycotted the city’s public transportation. When asked by a journalist for her thoughts, she said, “My feets is tired, but my soul is rested.”
What number will be enough for them? Enough for us? Yes, thank goodness for Black Twitter because we are made aware of what is going on and we are brought together because of it. Still, we have to do more. Sitting behind a phone and/or computer is not cutting it any more. As I am writing these words, I am also writing to myself.
Martin Luther King Jr. was ambivalent in the beginning to be the face of the Civil Rights Movement. Today, he is one of the first faces we remember when we think about those marches. Change is loud, inconvenient, and uncomfortable, but it advances our people towards a greater good. Shouts to Black Lives Matter Toronto and Jesse Williams for using their voice and speaking on our behalf. I salute you.
Today, five children are left without a father. Five children who witnessed their father’s death being broadcasted in real time for the world to see. My heart goes out to that family. Rest in peace, Alton Sterling. We will never forget you. His and our black lives do matter.
You can check out my podcast below and follow me on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where I share some more of my thoughts on this. Remember, stay tuned, stay true, and stay woke.