Heads up, this isn’t about dance.
I should be asleep right now. My alarm is going to go off at 4:45am in the morning and I won’t want to wake up, but I can’t sleep anyways.
I don’t know how we, my people – Black people in America – have done this for so long. How we went from watching our sisters and brother being mutilated on the whipping post, humiliated on the slave block. How we watched dogs rip our fellow runaway slaves bodies apart. Or how we watched crosses burn in front of our homes and churches. How we hid in the woods when the lynch mobs came. How we comforted the families that had huge, important pieces ripped, tarred, feathered, and burned away from them forever. How we opened the caskets of our son’s disfigured body so the world could see what really happened.
How did we do all this and still keep going? Because today, the murder of Emmett Till keeps happening over and over again. Too many Mamie Tills mourn the loss of their sons and daughters right now…at this very instant. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to go on.
Today, we can scroll down our social media feeds and see a life be taken, gunned down at point blank range – a modern day lynching.
Ask me how many times I have cried today. I tried to try to rub the tear lines off my face when I cried in my classroom alone at work. I cried myself to sleep last night for a family I don’t know, for a man that I will never be able to meet. And now, just as I was preparing to try to get some rest tonight, I was greeted with the (what would be fatal) shooting of another black man. His girlfriend shared the situation in real time on Facebook Live. I couldn’t even watch the video. It was too much.
It hit me then, all at once, that this has happened so many times without any change. I read tweets like, “Cops still shoot on video now. That’s how much they know the system will protect them.” My heart breaks at this – that we have so little hope left.
I sat in my bed and sobbed. I sent a text to my close friend and told him “My heart hurts.” I called my Nana. I asked her, “How do you keep going, Nana, when these people hate us and keep killing us?” She told me to rely on my faith. To trust that God still has a plan, in spite of all this evil and tragedy that surrounds us. That, she said, is how she was able to look the Klan in the face and still keep going.
I’m not even 21 yet, and I am already exhausted. My Nana is 80. I can’t even imagine how she feels to see that the Klan she faced isn’t gone, it just has a new face. Right now, I am praying for faith like hers, because at this moment, I don’t know what else to do.