Outrage. Pain. Hurt. Overlooked. Disregarded. Undervalued. Cold. Numb. These are just a few emotions that describe how it feels to be living while black right now. As a black woman, black mother, and black entrepreneur who loves the skin that I flaunt daily, I refuse to allow society to dull my sparkle. Going into 2020, most of us had a vision as to how the year would play out. Dreams, goals, hopes, and aspirations were the toasts that many of us drank to at the stroke of midnight. Little did we know that halfway through this new year we would be quarantined through a pandemic, afraid of being infiltrated by killer hornets, all while praying that it isn’t our day to be slaughtered by the very people put in place to protect and serve.
On today, people of color all over our country are full of hurt and rage that has recently been being displayed through peaceful protests, riots and even looting. Think of how an infant gets your attention when they need to be fed but no one is showing up fast enough with a warm bottle...they scream until they do. What we are witnessing in America, the land of the not so free, is an outcry for help. Because we are not being heard when we come in peace. This is where we become conflicted as whether to show up non violent as Dr. King would have advised, or to be with the shit like Malcolm X. It is so hard to come to any type of rationale when we are so deep in our feelings. Losing loved ones by the hands of the law. Losing employment due to budget cuts by a system who doesn’t care. And losing hope because we end up at war with each other.
Today, Tuesday June 2, 2020 has been deemed our “Black out” day. A day where we put all shenanigans aside and focus on the matters at hand. It is a great feeling to see our people stand in solidarity. However, it would be the best feeling ever to see everyone keep the same energy. Remember that amidst this pandemic people are having to figure out ways to keep their families happy, healthy, and fed. We are all absolutely within every right to spend our money how we would like to. But choosing to spend with a business, be it small or large run by a person of color is one way to bridge this gap. Stand in solidarity in supporting one another beyond just one day.
Every day, we need to make a conscious effort to lead with love. We have enough to deal with when we walk out of our doors. Plenty of outside entities that prey on seeing us down. The last thing we need is to have to deal with that in our personal lives as well. Black men, it is ok to dap up another brother in passing just because and wish him a good day. Black women, it is ok to smile and compliment another woman in your travels. It is no secret that I hold us women to a higher standard. I expect so much from us. We are the backbone of our culture. Black women, pour love into our children and men. Tell a black man that you love him, he is worthy, and that you’ve got his back even when the world doesn’t. We are all hurting. And being able to cope with all of the outside forces starts inside. Remember to love ourselves even when they are telling us that our lives don’t matter. We DO matter. We are the Kings and Queens of this earth. Let us carry ourselves as such.
We never know what another person is going through. Especially a person of color. Imposing your hatred on them is counter productive. The goal is to remember that we are supposed to be one. Let’s advocate things like making it alright to seek counseling for things that we choose not to speak on which ail us. Not to shun a person in need. Mental illness has been something that has been at the butt of so many jokes for so many years that people who suffer with conflicting moods and personalities don’t feel comfortable talking about it. Let’s make it cool to speak our truths and not be judged for it. Think of even how many incidents of police involved deaths mention a person with a mental illness. We have to advocate for proper training so that they are handled with the correct level of care. You shouldn’t have to lose your life for simply having a non-violent break down. How many of us have felt like we were at our breaking point at one time or another?
On July 9, 2019 Sean Rambert Jr, my oldest nephew was shot 7 times by a white officer in Greenville, North Carolina. David Johnson murdered him! Because he fit the description of a burglary suspect. He was unarmed. Walking in his own neighborhood. My nephew had also recently been diagnosed schizophrenic. He was a star player for his high school football team and went on to go to college. His accolades were many for a 23 year old. We held his repast at his old high school on a Sunday. That is how highly they thought of Sean. So you see, when I see the headlines about another officer involved shooting, it’s not just another name to say for me. My nephew dies all over again in my heart each time. And I still don’t know what to do with that pain. Does the looting and vandalism bring back George Floyd or Sean even? Not at all. But who am I to say that someone is displaying their anger incorrectly after years and years of oppression. People are tired. People are hurting.
There are so many reasons why we as a people are seeking justice. Some of which we may never get. Nor will it ever bring our loved ones back. My hope is that the oppressors realize that when unified we aren’t to be played with. And that more people begin to be color blind. I don’t blame anyone for the actions of their forefathers. Each person is judged on an individual basis. Good and bad has nothing to do with race. But morals and principles do. Let us be the change that we would like to see morally. And when things get too heavy to shoulder, remember your resources. Do what is best for personal mental health today and every day to cope with living while black each day in this world. Find your happy place. Go within for peace. Take time to journal, to meditate, to pray. Because God knows we need prayer during these times. I’ve heard it said that tough times don’t last but tough people do. Let’s bypass all the stigmas and stereotypes and prove that to be true. Wishing you all love and light in these dark times. And God bless us all.~D.W.