Those were the words a co-worker said aloud to me for anyone in the office that day to hear. Yes, you heard me right.
My entire body went cold + then very, very hot. My blood was boiling. I wanted to stand up and yell. I wanted to cuss him out and ask who the hell he thought he was. Instead I waited until he continued to walk out of the office doors before I ran to my car and cried.
I wondered if he forgot the person he said that to was half black / why it was even appropriate to say in the first place? (By the way, it wasn’t). All because of some name tags I made + a funny joke he thought he was telling…
It’s been well over a year since that happened and, to this day, I still regret never saying anything. I get angry all over again wondering why I never stood up and said something. The Lord probably knew it was better for me to not say anything in that moment because I had the fire of my dad inside of me– so I probably would have blown up in his face + caused a scene. Real unlike me, huh?
My sister was hired by a local (white) realtor who needed 360º pictures of houses he was selling. She drove out to one of the houses on her list that day in a primarily rich, white community. She pulled up to the house in her 2007 Honda Civic, minding her business. Not even 20 minutes later were the cops called…
And not just one or two cops…FIVE cops showed up at the door with a dog as if it were a drug raid. They questioned + interrogated her. They asked why she was there and what she was doing in the house. They asked for her ID and when she questioned ‘why’, the officer took out cuffs.
She cried + began to let her mind wonder to the worst of places all while trying to cooperate throughout the senseless, rude, heavy interrogation.
All because of her “rundown”, “getaway” car, her camera which was assumed to be a weapon, and her boxed braids. The cops (and the neighbors) assumed wrongful things about her, a 20-something year old young adult.
It wasn’t until the realtor showed up right before they were about to handcuff her to tell the cops she was with him.
Written out, it may not sound as intense. And maybe it even seems a little ridiculous, but things like this happen to POC every single day. I cannot even begin to fathom how my sister felt in that moment. She called us crying saying she didn’t know why any of it happened and why they had to send a parade of backup for one girl who was just doing her job…
So, with the recent events losing our brothers and sisters, my heart breaks for what this world has become (and continues to do). This isn’t about politics. This isn’t about he-said-she-said. IT’S ABOUT WRONGFUL DEATHS. It’s about WRONGFULLY assuming things about POC. It’s about putting aside human decency for hateful reason + actions. We won’t always know the full story + I can’t claim to know all the facts, but when I continue to see a trend in the way POC are treated as opposed to those with white skin, it makes me angry. Even as I write this now I fight to urge to cry my eyes out.
You’ve seen the videos. You’ve felt how uncomfortable it is to watch people do the things they have. You’ve also seen no justice for those who were wrongfully murdered.
Although there is so much more I could say (or that should be said) I will leave you with this––
Stop sitting back silently as you watch people around you get treated as if they mean nothing. Speak up for those you see facing unnecessary discrimination + oppression because of the color of their skin. Consider what it’s like to be afraid for your life when doing normal activities everyone is supposed to be able to enjoy. Remember the voices of the children comforting their parents as they, too, worry about being killed by the ones who are supposed to protect us.
Change starts with you. Be the one to make a difference and use the safety + power you posses to, potentially, save another human being. Stand up for one another; view each other through love. Be a place someone can feel comfortable and cared for because of who they are, not what they look like.
Rest in Peace: George Floyd | Trayvon Martin | Breonna Taylor | Ahmaud Arbery | Tamir Rice | Oscar Grant | Eric Garner | Philando Castile | Samuel Dubose | and our many other brothers + sisters in heaven
#saytheirnames #blacklivesmatter #bebetterdobetter #icantbreathe #justiceforfloyd