No, I'm Not Okay
As a mother watching anyone cry out for their mother as they struggle to breathe does something to you. I remember when my friend called and asked me to watch the video of George Floyd. It was disgusting, inhumane, and sadly not the first video I have seen like it. Yet for for me this video took me to another place mentally. The fact that this keeps happening and on top of that it could have been my husband, brothers, or grandson infuriates me. Also knowing this could happen to any woman in my family, including myself, reminded me no one is safe in my family that includes man, woman, or child. So I tried really hard to distance myself from the media outlets to take time to process this, and to be honest I'm still at a loss and I can't process this. I can handle many things but this I cant and sadly this isn't the first time. It keeps happening over and over again. Sadly, I have had to process other stories like this one for some time now, and I couldn't then nor can I now.
My truth is I am black, and this is my reality. But wait, this is just the beginning of my truth.
My truth is the fact that I can be walking down the street, shopping at a store, driving a car, or watching tv in my home and my life can be wrongfully taken from me and the world I live in is conditioned for it. My truth is that I live in a society where if I'm wrongfully killed, my criminal record will be used to justify that I deserved it. My truth is that if my criminal record isn't enough, or one cant be found, statistics will be pulled up on black on black crime, and my death will be justified as another statistic and swept under the rug. My truth is if I am lucky instead of defaming my character, the stats on how my death was just another unfortunate isolated case will be the gift given to my grieving family.
My truth is I am black, and this is my reality. But wait, there is more.
My truth is when a little hope is in view for my family with the arrest of this "one bad cop" who took my life, there is a 90% chance my family will have to watch as the system that was established to protect me rule in favor of the officer that took my life. My truth is there is a chance during the whole process where my family will be informed that this officer is on administrative leave with pay. As they are told it is the right thing to do (innocent until proven guilty) my family will see this as a paid vacation for taking my life. My truth is if my family looses in criminal court and it goes to civil court in hopes of some type of restitution, US citizens no matter their color will pay for police misconduct in the form of taxes once my family wins their case. My truth is the ultimate slap in my family's face will come when my story is all over the news, and that one "bad apple" cop will be reinstated fully because all criminal charges were dropped. The media will glorify the fact that "though the money wont replace me at least my family has some type of restitution through civil court for the loss of my life".
This is why it is unfair, this is why it hurts, and no matter what, this is my truth.
My truth is I am black, and this is my reality. But wait, I'm not done.
My truth is there is the phrase I have heard many use as their go to phrase which is, " one bad cop does not spoil the bunch" or "all cops are not bad". I will be the first to say all police officers are not corrupt or immoral. These phrases are absolutely true but the problem is they are often used to keep people from addressing the fact that another life was taken for no reason. It makes the person saying it feel justified in not stepping out of their comfort zone to speak on the injustice they have seen. It operates as a safe protective bubble that allows others to be half in and half out of the situation but not fully invest into seeking justice for the matter. It is like hearing my friends say "I know Charis was killed and that is not right but one bad apple does not spoil the bunch and there is nothing we can do so lets get back to packing for our summer vacation". I know that is an extreme example but hopefully it sheds light on the anger and frustration you are seeing.
This has also made me think really hard and ask myself would my friends really say these phrases to others who do not know me but are outraged and protesting because of my death?
Can you see the frustration of this cycle? How do you process living in a place that has no regard for your life because of the color of your skin? How do you process what is happening when you are told over and over again that you have every right as anyone else that lives in the United States yet you see that is really not true? How do you process no matter how much of a law-abiding citizen, my family and I are, the color of my skin has the last say so, and it will always be unfavorable for my family and me?
My truth is I am black, and this is my reality. But wait, there is more and this part hurts even more.
How do you process having and raising children and teaching them that they do not have the rights that their friends have? How do you look at your grandson and know a conversation will soon come for him where he must be taught he is not equal with the other children because of his skin color? How do you process the fact that if you do not teach him this it could cost him his life? How do you process knowing he must be taught differently than others on how to respond to a police officer all while knowing no matter if he complies with the police there may be a chance you will never see him again? How do you process looking at your family pictures and thinking in the back of your mind how unsafe all of us are either because of the color of our skin or association with us? How do you process hearing your fellow man brush all of this off as if it is no big deal time after time?
This is not fair, That is the injustice, This is why I Cant Process My Truth.
Now if you know me you know that I will never state a problem without giving a strategy for a resolution. This by no means is the resolution to this matter but it is a start for those who have no idea what to do or how they can help their fellow man.
I was watching a message this weekend on possible actions people can start taking and these were very good suggestions. I would love to share these with you.
This is the time that we need to deepen our relationships with one another. Reach out to others and ask uncomfortable questions about the situation. Be a listening ear for fellow man and ask is there anything you can do. This is uncomfortable but necessary step.
Have a conversation with your family about this injustice. Let your children know it is not right. Do not allow mainstream media to tell your kids this is the norm. Start planting seeds in your children to change this world long after you are gone. Teach your kids and loved ones how to have compassion and pray for all races.
S= Start at Home
Speak up and use your influence to help those who do not have a voice. Teach your families how to do this with boldness. Discuss and practice scenerio's where your family can speak up at work, school, ect....
Pray for God to equip you with the words to give hope and make change when your given the opportunity to make a difference in your circle of influence. I have found my greatest influence has came when I do not rehearse what to say but I speak from a place where my true feelings are shared.
Go to the word of God and let Gods word consume you to a point where your passion for this injustice is birthed out of the desire to do God's will on this earth and not as a checklist of things to show your friends you have done regarding the matter. The problem with the latter is when you are tired and exhausted you will quit rather than depend on the fire that God has placed within you to keep going as a voice for the voiceless.
The change needed right now starts with the organism not the organization.