Where do I even begin….Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the list goes on. By now we are all well aware of who these individuals are. They are someone’s daughter, someone’s son, someone’s father, all murdered at the hands of those who took an oath to protect them. We see stories like these in the media all the time. Sometimes it’s at the hands of the police, sometimes it’s civilians, but every time they get away with it and all we can do is sigh. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s that it hurts, we want to cry but it happens so much that if we start crying, we will never stop.
This isn’t a post that is telling people to pick up arms and ride for our lost brothas and sistas, or even to blame this on Trump. It’s about using that gutting wrenching pain that you felt while hearing George Floyd call out for his mother, to take a stand and say ENOUGH! Along with refusing to endure this oppression any longer, we must also deal with the emotions that come with this pain. We as a people have been dealing with this for so long, for as long as we have been in this country, and before the pessimists chime in and say the black man was in America before the white man stop, stop with your agenda please. Maybe I am speaking for myself, maybe I see myself in him and my wife in her. Maybe I fear that my child will be running, trying to enjoy life and it’s ended. Just know that it’s okay to have these thoughts, and it’s okay to feel the anger, hurt, and disgust that come along with them. We can’t move forward until we first deal with the emotions associated with the injustice suffered by our people. But where do we go from there?
I hear people say that’s why you need to carry a gun everywhere you go; is that the answer? Carry a gun everywhere? If that is the solution it saddens me even more. I don’t have the answers, I don’t have a solution, and I don’t know if it is our responsibility to come up with one. We didn’t create this system of oppression but I am tired of wearing a normal face when this happens. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us and we should collectively mourn these losses. It hurts to say their names! We walk around and act like we are all different but we aren’t. There are only 3 things that make us different, 1) Where the ship stopped, i.e. where did you grow up 2) How far back your grandmother was raped i.e. skin color 3) What lie you believed would make you safe and accepted i.e. school, streets or assimilation. If that offended you, then good! We are the same, it does not matter how you dress it up or try to create a narrative on why this happened. He is you, she is you, and they are our shared fears and sorrows, WE ARE THE SAME.
Like I said before I’m not trying to inspire a revolution, I just want my people to not sweep these reoccurring incidents under the rug. This hurts! It made me hug and hold my daughter tight. It feels like we have all been trying to compartmentalize these racist antics and carry on like it does not affect us, it does, just like we mourn the deaths of our loved ones, we should also mourn the deaths of every black person who has lost their life in a system that is set up to kill them. Let’s talk about how this has made us feel, let’s unpack it, we can never heal what we fail to reveal. Part of self-care is taking care of our mental health, I wrote this without really knowing where I was going to take it, I just let it flow, just as you should let your feelings flow. However you mourn, do it. The impact of these murders and what they are saying to us, is that your brother or a sister can be jogging and 3 people can chase him/her down and kill them on camera, post it and still not be arrested.
A video of someone doing this to an animal would cost them their freedom. This hurts because currently my cat has more of a right to live in this country than I do. It hurts because we can’t go anywhere; we can’t go to another country and claim refugee status like others have in the past. I don’t want to get into why, we know why. So this is a letter to everyone saying feel the pain, the sorrow, the fear, the anger and stop trying to hide to make it in a society that says they care and show the exact opposite. You are not crying alone! We are all crying for our brothas and our sistas, but don’t stand in your sorrow for long. Join the movement and march for their lives, for your kids lives, for your own lives. No matter how much they brutalize us for exercising our rights, we must continue to march for what we believe in. I know it’s tough, but we have no choice. Right now it’s our only option.
Sometimes it takes all my energy not to throw my phone at my T.V. and scream out. Like you, I am tired. How many marches do we need? How many ways do we need to say it? When will our tears be allowed to dry? I don’t know, but before I end, I want to leave you with some words from Maya Angelou “You should be angry, but you must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host.” To my people, be angry, yell, cry, walk the streets, post pictures, do what you need to do to help you during this time. Let the fire that is burning in your chest out, but please do not let it consume you. You are not alone in your pain or in this struggle, we are one people united, we will make our voices heard!
To read more from the Author Branden Valentine make sure to visit his social media. (click on the picture to the left)
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