My heart aches. My body is somewhat numb. My brain is conditioned. 155 years ago, my ancestors were “freed.” Screams and cries echoed through the streets as the burden of being a human owned by another human seemed to come to an end.
They celebrated, as many did, for Joe Biden, but we know that, obviously, freedom was far from achieved. Jim Crow, mass incarceration, and segregation came into play. White America continued to find ways to hinder other humans from attaining basic human rights.
155 years later, as I sit on my bed writing this, my heart continues to ache as tears form in my eyes. My chest feels tight because an old reality is still my current one. My back seems to scream in agony and my neck feels like it’s being flattened whenever my mind wanders to George Floyd.
I can’t breathe either.
My sleep seems a little less welcomed whenever beautiful Breonna Taylor’s eyes flash at me as I try to sleep. The way she was. Brown eyes that resembled mine. Why shouldn’t my sleep be disturbed? Am I not black as well?
My throat burns as I swallow down my words, just so that I do not come off as a stereotypical black woman. I am not angry, but rather, I am passionate about what I feel due to the simple fact that the bodies being prematurely piled up resemble my own family and me. But don’t I have every right to be? Anxiety bubbles over in me, but I can’t react to it when three large police officers enter a store behind me.
Should I have had to start recording a video for my family when an NYPD patrol car follows me all the way home? Would I deserve to be thrown to the floor and beaten or tased because my brake light was out? Sounds illogical, right? To you, it might be, but to me, it’s a reality. It isn’t a thought that can be laughed away or pushed aside to deal with another day. My tummy burns with fear when I hug my 6-foot-3, dark-skinned brother goodbye for the day.
“Is it really going to be goodbye?”
That thought plays ping-pong in my mind until I know he’s home safe. My older brother, my protector, my safe place, and my best friend. I hear words like “thug,” “animal,” and “uneducated,” being used to define him by those in power and on television, but he couldn’t be farther from those. I could tell you that he is a good man with a good job who makes me laugh and most definitely loves me more than anybody on this earth, but when he walks outside with a durag on, would you see him as a regular human with those characteristics? Why not?
Sirens fill my neighborhood, day in and day out, following those who are victims of color and circumstance. Daughters, brothers, sons, cousins are treated like they do not matter because of color.
America, your actions have been vile. You are so wrong for what you’ve done to the people you have forced to be your people. You walk in the dark as blind as a newborn, and you’re so blind that anything that goes against the racist foundation you’ve been built on is considered to be racist and wrong. You mistreat those who came here due to a dream that you sold. Your “paved gold streets” are instead stained red and overflowing with the blood of my ancestors. My skin is clear, but I carry my people’s tattered and broken skin because nothing seems to have changed. America, I am tired. I am so tired. I didn’t choose you, but you chose me, and your nation under God refuses to allow me to be free.