“If it were easy, it would be done already.” – Me to Me.
I haven’t published a blog since April 2020. I didn’t follow the schedule that I gave myself… two blogs a month. I had good reason. It started during my spring break. I had plans… to clean, rest, and read. At the end of said Spring Break… COVID shut down America. Initially, I thought… surely… this will get fixed. With all of the genius scientists and medical professionals – who have my utmost respect – we will be out for a bit (like the floods) and then we will regain our footing. THAT DID NOT HAPPEN. Despite current outside activity, we are STILL dealing with said pandemic. The current reported number of positive cases in the county in which I reside is 19, 739, per The Weather Chanel Application. I still remember when the number was only showing around 1,000. I don’t want to get into the meddling thoughts about the validity of the reporting, because I know people who have personally endure this illness. The point is… it’s not gone.
I am a school teacher. Life was very different at the end of the semester. I am not only a teacher, I teach students who need a reading champion. This posed EXTRA trauma. I knew my babies. I knew them well. I knew who could push through and look for the light behind the clouds, knew which ones would use this to not read… because they simply don’t like to (read) anyway, and I knew the ones who wanted to be anywhere safe. I need you to read that as “home wasn’t the most stable place for them”. Not to mention… school is the social foundation for many students. All of that got snatched up in the name of safety. I don’t regret it, I am just speaking to the truth of the moment. Then.. there is the entire reality that parents were dealing with adulting, facilitating lessons, navigating jobs in and outside of the home (and the loss of said jobs), finding toilet paper, not running out of food, making sure the internet fueled devices, and not getting infected while juggling fire. In this environment, the parents became my primary contact and lifeline to my students. Oh yea, I still have other leadership duties to quickly adjust to, an internship that all but came to a screeching halt, and my only real social life line was electronic.
Two weeks into the nightmare that is COVID, I freaked out. About a month and a half into said nightmare the first of May loomed. This is where I know the Lord is real. I should have been a spinning top by then. While I had my moments, I didn’t crumble completely. In the middle of all of this, an unexpected blessing walked into my life.
I’ll get to that in another blog… much later. Just know this, when you aren’t use to blessings and they show up… you meet them with shock and disbelief. Like God, “is that You? I mean… cause… if not… I mean, did you hear THAT prayer??”.
On the back end I interviewed for a job. Second interview in a few months. I didn’t get the job. My Peace – I want what God has for me. If it wasn’t for me, no need in getting all huffed up about it. I can’t quote Jeremiah 29:11 all the time and then not trust Him with there is a plot twist.
Then, enter a plethora of racially motivated police killings. This is not up for debate. It happened. #JusticeforBreyonnaTaylor and #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd . The video from Mr. Floyd’s execution went viral fast. It ignited fires – literally. The country, in the middle of a pandemic, was on fire. The embers had been lit for A LONG TIME. Marches, riots, confusion, anger, strong emotions, and a sudden swell took to the streets.
This is why it’s taken so long to write this. I was mad. I was tired. EXHAUSTED. I am weary of BLACK people still being viewed as disposable. Still being seen as less than human. Still dying instead of being worthy of deescalation. Instead of going before judges, BLACK people are dying in the streets, in their own homes, and jogging in their neighborhood. The image of blackness has long held a stigma to people who aren’t black.
The reality of White Privilege also resurfaced. Just for clarity, White Privilege doesn’t mean you are racist. It means that in your life the negative things you encountered weren’t attributed to your skin color or ethnicity. It permeates many industries. Have you ever had to question whether or not your child’s name will block their resume or job application for consideration? Have you ever been followed in a store – just because of your presence? Was your ancestral connection stripped from your culture by a dominant society? Were your hairstyles considered un-professional based on comparison to the dominant society? Was your dress code scrutinized because of your body type, but the same type of outfit allowed by another ethnic group or race? Has your body been sexualized even as a young child, based on other’s opinions and desires? Do you have to teach your children at a young age how to tolerate and survive people who don’t look like them?
If you want to see what privilege looks like on a visual scale google the marches and resistance to COVID. There were people, strapped with guns, on GOVERNMENT property. There were not mishandled by police. They weren’t maced or teargassed. Contrast that with peaceful Black Lives Matter marches. Now do you see? No? Ok.
These are a few things that categorize the situations that BLACK people – read anyone with a connection to Africa somewhere in their lineage- have had to face. I can’t think of a time that I wasn’t aware of my blackness. I have ALWAYS loved being black. However, I have always been aware that being black was criminalized in America. Not only here, but here is where I live.
So when the movement picked up speed again, I went inside. I didn’t choose to march. I chose to get trained to assist with voting drives and initiatives. I chose to have hard conversations with anyone who wanted to have them respectfully. I prayed, a lot. I cried. I started to filter what I could tolerate on social media.
We have a pandemic, summer, systematic racism, social distancing, people arguing about being told to put on a mask, some pulling rank on how to interpret people’s rights, and we are only SIX months into 2020.
I know we spoke clear vision and all of these awesome mantras in December 2019, but can we get a do-over on July-December 2020?
That’s a shot in the dark.
This is what I have for now. This is where we are. My grandmother died at 92 and dealt with the Civil Rights Movement personally. That stirs me. My multi-racial great grandfather was born in 1873. There are a lot of contributing factors to the way I react, my faith, and my peace. Aware. Protecting my peace – as fragile as it is sometimes… I am holding on for dear life.