As A Black Mother...
It's Thursday 245am. I should be asleep, but instead I'm wide wake scrolling through comments on HuffPo's Facebook page, reading #blacklivesmatter tweets, trying to find a way to make sense of it all.
"Am I the only crazy person up right now?"
Now it's 445am. My thoughts drift to my daughter. How will she be treated? This could be her. Tears begin to fall as I tell myself, this cannot be her experience. Am I the only crazy person up right now?
As a black mother, every death of a Black American at the hands of the police and subsequent hashtag makes me angry. Angry and hurt but I go on with my life. This was at least manageable until Sandra Bland. Because in Sandra Bland, I saw my daughter. My daughter! The beautifully kindhearted person I taught to speak up for herself and others. It took me a while to let go of the fears I developed when Sandra Bland died; now the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have brought the pain right back to the surface.
In four years, my daughter will leave my protective cocoon and head off to college, now I'm dread the arrival of that day more than ever.
It's 645am. Having had no sleep, I jump up and get ready for work.
At work my sadness and anger is palpable. I should've stayed home. Why did I come to work? I'm constantly on the verge of tears. Where is my safe space to grieve and express my emotions?
(Note to self: Make an appointment with therapist asap.)
At home, I can't be too sad because I'd just be showing my little girl that our future is dismal. Can I show it at work? Not really, it's unprofessional...isn't it?
"Should've taken Evelyn from the Internets advice and called in black."
By Friday, all I feel is powerlessness and despair. I can't sleep. I barely eat. I should've taken Evelyn from the Interents advice and called in black. All I can think about is how poorly people with my skin color are treated. I can't understand why anyone would be upset when this point is raised.
Here's what ticks me off...Black men and women are mistreated or killed, the incident is captured on video but we all know what the result will be...NO conviction. That could've been my Dad, brother, cousins or friends.
The images of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile's bodies are forever etched in my memory. Our memories as black people.
"What do I do now?"
As a black mother, I need to take action. Hashtag activism is a great start because it brings a national and international spotlight to these incidents but I need to take real action. I have to. If I don't I'll continue to feel powerless and for me that's no longer an option.
So what do I do now? My advice to myself and others is vote in local and state elections, put pressure on state and local officials to acknowledge issues of police brutality and most importantly, support groups that are out there protesting for the cause. They need our support and we need change!
Images from CreateHerStock & misskwame76