My phone rang as I was driving today. I looked down and saw that it was one of my best friends, so I quickly picked-up, “Hey girl.”
“I’m depressed,” she said.
“Why”, I asked expecting her to say something related to a man, her job or her family.
“This stuff with Sandra Bland. It just affected me. I’m having such a hard time with it.”
“Of course you are, honey. She is us.”
“Girl, that video tore me up. My stomach got tighter with each second. I literally thought I was going to vomit at the end of it.”
I told her: “I couldn’t finish watching it. I stopped at the part where he told her to put out her cigarette.”
“You did the right damn thing cause it just got worse from there. They killed that woman and they are going to get away with it.”
We got off of the phone shortly after that. What else was there to say? I wish that I could have voiced an intelligent, fiery rebuttal to her assertion that the Texas officer and jail would get away with her murder, but I agree with her.
I think that’s why I couldn’t watch the video fully; I think that’s why my usually politically active, socially concerned friends on Facebook are just doing things such as posting “30 days of positivity”; I think that’s why you don’t see even 5% of the blacklivesmatter hashtags that you used to see. People haven’t stopped being murdered. People haven’t stopped caring. I don’t believe that we are hopeless; but I do believe that we feel helpless.
Our throats are raw. How long do you keep screaming when you don’t feel heard? Moreover, if you feel helpless to change the outcome of a situation, perhaps it’s easier to act as if it doesn’t exist – at least for a little while. So, we temporarily turn inward–focus on the triviality of summer camps and summer vacations–silenced.
There is shame in whining about this laryngitis. “Sandra Bland” is one of my sista-friends, who sits around drinking red wine solving life’s problems with me. She is my best friend who is road-trippin headed to a new job. She is me. The other senseless deaths hit close to home. Sandra Bland is home. I owe it to her to gargle with some salt water, let it sting, and start to get my voice back.
We know our history. Lord knows as bad as things are, it’s a lot easier for us than it was for our ancestors. So how dare we show fatigue?
Just as I know our history I know our people. Some of us are just catching our breath, putting down the load for a minute to rest our backs. We will march on. We will march on for Sandra Bland, for Oscar Grant, for Trayvon Martin, for each one of us. We will march on.
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My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more