Smart, young woman.
Beautiful, smart, young woman.
Beautiful, smart, young, BLACK woman.
I'm proud to be all of the things above. And I always have been. But it seems like I am being reminded of my BLACKNESS more and more. Almost daily now.
I am reminded every time I turn on the news and get on social media that I am a black woman married to a black man with a young black son. A son who has no idea how the world really works. One day (soon) my husband and I will have to explain to him why he has to be extra cautious and polite at the same time because it just may save his life.
This past Monday, the country was celebrating it's 240th birthday, our independence and freedom. But the hours and days following led to two more black men being gunned down at the hands of the police, five dead officers in a shooting in Dallas, a man hung from a tree in Atlanta and more widows and fatherless children as well. Yes, this is the America I live in.
There was a time when I could look in the mirror and just see ME. A woman. Wife. Mother. Business owner. Friend. Consumer. Citizen. But that is no longer the case. In a world where my generation has everything in the palm of our hands due to the amazing time in which we were born, the technology we have helped foster, legacies we were to create and build from it and access to literally anything with a touch of a button, we are failing. Failing because we have forgotten about the simple things. Giving. Loving. Sharing. Being open-minded. Listening. Accepting.
What happened to us?
When did we loose all respect for human life? When did we become so divided that hashtags have become the new normal to not only highlight and recognize a certain group, but to remember them in death by murder? And why can't we seem to break the long existing cycle of hate and racism in America? When are we going to change the gun laws? When are we going to elect officials who really get it and will fight for us and with us? When will enough really be enough? Can we really have justice for all?
Truth be told, I am grateful that so far my son has had nothing but positive encounters with police officers. Yes, he is only five years old, but at least once a month we are stopped in public by an officer who wants to give him a sticker. They see him and us. I believe that they genuinely want us to feel safe and have a positive view of them. I can't begin to imagine what they see and go through each and every day on the job. I can't begin to imagine how their wives feel every morning when they close the door behind them... Wait, well actually, I can. I imagine we have similar feelings when our husbands leave for work each day. This certainly doesn't mean that I know exactly what they are going through and they know exactly what I am going through, but this alone should bring us together to be there for one another at any time.
Here is some more truth: the stories my husband has told me about him and his friends being pulled over, searched and humiliated for no reason are very real. I myself have been pulled over and/or followed by the police more than a few times in the last two months and I was genuinely scared and a little angry even though I had done nothing wrong. Five or six years ago, that was not the case. Sadly, this is my new reality and I don't like it at all.
I honestly feel like I can't cry anymore tears. I can't watch anymore news conferences with mothers and wives pleading for justice and getting nowhere. Sorting through all of my feelings has taken a lot of my energy this week, but I need to feel them. Many have become desensitized because these tragedies are happening way too often now.
So, what are we to do?
We change our mindsets. We change our hearts. We change our voting habits. We change the way we talk about and approach certain topics. Most importantly, we teach our children these things. They must know and believe that the world they are growing up in will be worth living in as an adult. It should be a safe place to raise a family no matter what they look like or who is apart of that family. We must do and be better for ourselves and for our children.
To my black people, I hear you. I stand with you.
To our supporters, we thank you.
To everyone else, take a moment to think if this was you, your neighbor, your brother or husband. Sincere compassion can go a long way even if you don't completely understand all of our feelings.
To the believers, keep praying and believing that God sees and hears us. His plan is above all.
To law enforcement, thank you for your service. Thank you to those who don't take their job to protect and serve lightly.
To the world, strive to do better and be better. Operate with love for ALL humanity each and every day.