I am shaking as I'm sending my child into the other room to watch a show while I burst my heart over the keys. I am letting him have all the sugar and all of the snacks today, because his life is more fragile than my own in ways he won't understand for years. State-sanctioned violence inside of a white supremacy hasn't surprised me in a long time, but the rage is still there, it's a low, guttural moan with the stench of strange fruit and public lynchings, it's howl of the MOVE bombing in Philadelphia, with the predictability of any attack being blamed on an "other" that we've created an acronym for, just like we created the very illusive group we are now "fighting", with our own weapons on both sides.
I want to be an active voice, but I know that I am an ally and that the pain is not my own. I am empath, and think that I understand sometimes, but it is important to recognize, now and always, that I could choose to turn the story off and go back to watching something else. I cannot, and I will not, but I could, and most white folks do. How do you continue having hope for a movement when all attempts at public outcry, at all positive outlets for rage are shut down, fizzled out and systematically dismantled to continue the disempowerment? How can I use my voice and place of privilege to call out what those in power will hope to blow over? This is a movement that has been building, and must keep collaborating, networking and taking action. We are exhausted, but we must move.
I am sick in the stomach every time that there is a new name, or a new number broadcast on the news, but I am also sick in the stomach when it is not national news, and why I have made this my life's work. We who glorify the guns cannot reckon with their damage until it hits home. Why isn't this hitting home for so many folks? When will it? I do not like hashtags and trending topics, cannot stand twitter for its snippets and soundbites, but the need to move, to be active, to stop white supremacy in its tracks and undo this system that is predicated on the backs, bodies and blood of people of color (Native peoples, immigrants from Europe, Asia and Mexico, with varying degrees of "whiteness" ascribed to them upon entry, queer and trans folks, people of mixed or multi-ethnic heritage, and of course African-Americans) is pulled to the front burner, each time.
Spare me the shock, this predictable heartbreak will result in no indictment, no jail time, few consequences and we all know that rinse and repeat cycle of 24 hour news. Alton Sterling's family deserves more. I am sending all of my love and healing to them, and to all of the families impacted by gun violence, police violence and find themselves the victims of white supremacy. There are too many to name, but yet we must stop and name them.
Rest in Power, Mr. Alton Sterling. Ms. Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Mr. Eric Garner, Mr. Trayvon Martin, Mr. Michael Brown, Ms. Sandra Bland, Mr. Freddie Gray, Mr. Tamir Rice, Ms. Renisha McBride, Ms. Aura Rosser, Mr. Jordan Davis, Mr. Khalief Browder, Mr. Oscar Grant, Mr. Alex Nieto, Mr. Amadou Diallo, Mr. Sean Bell, Mr. Akai Gurley, Mr. Ramarley Graham, Mr. John Crawford III, and thousands more. Your stories, lives and legacies are embedded into my work every single day.