Here I Am, A Black Woman in America

Me 2020  ✊🏽 Grandma 1956

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In the years between these photos so much has changed, but still so little progress has been made.

Why have I been told before

“ you’re so white”

What am I doing that’s reserved for white people

So much so that I’m no longer true to the color of my skin

“you’re not really black”

As if you get to decide my degree of blackness

I am a black woman.

I don’t have to convince you of that.

You don’t get to tell me otherwise.

Still I don’t know what my place in this as a black woman is.

And it hurts to not understands.

Why don’t I know what to feel?

Why do other people know what to feel?

I want to know what other women like me feel.

My mom doesn’t know what to feel.

She wishes she had more to say to me.

Wishes she had answers or promises to offer.

But she doesn’t.

What she does say is a truth that hurts the heart.

There are more people on the right side, but stronger people on the wrong side.

I weep reading the front page of the New York Times.

I stop short as I pass the evening news.

A protestor says this is our time.

We are the generation.

It is no longer the time be silent.

But I am silent. A fire inside me wants to hop in my car, drive to the nearest big city and join the protests.

But I don’t.

It’s a scary world to live in,

Do I even have to say that?

I am safe here.

Maybe if I stay safe

everyone I love will stay safe too.

But I think the biggest injustice would be to not say anything at all.

I’m angry because I feel lied to.

I grew up thinking racism had been solved,

it was a thing of the past, the world was safe, fair, and just place.

But it’s everywhere, we’ve internalized it, institutionalized it.

Why do I tell my stories of discrimination like they’re tales of comedy.

Is it because,

to me,

modern day racism seems so ridiculous.

But it’s so real.

I’ll admit

I’m still shedding silent tears reading the news each morning

I’m hurt by it all

But I’m also hurt by my inability to react

Trayvon Martin

Say his name

Ahmed Arbery

Say his name

George Floyd

Say his name

The list is so long now.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say

I’m scared my brothers name will be added to it.

I remember one year we watched the Macy’s thanksgiving parade in NYC. There were hundreds of police officers around, it made me feel safe in the large crowd.

“ I feel the exact opposite,” my brother said.

I’m scared for him. I’m scared for so many.

I have so many questions

In a time where there are no answers

Everyday is a choice

My brother says

I’m not scared

My brother says

I be more specific

“You’re not afraid of being targeted as a black man?”

“Life has risks”

But why is this ours?

The world dances in chaos

The protestors dance in flames

I hate knowing,

I hate admitting,

that there’s a them,

and an us.

Because “we” doesn’t exist in this world

Proven by a pandemic,

and now an epidemic

I am still here screaming out questions that fill my mind, but the void echos back no answers.

What will happen tonight?

What will change tomorrow?

What will change ever?

It’s hard to feel that something will happen.

That anything will change.

Until we learn to not be thieves: of objects, rights, and freedoms.

Until we fully align with truth.

What is our truth?

What is our choice?

We don’t get to chose the worlds truth

But we do get to chose our own.

True equality will not happen until we stop sorting ourselves and instead identify as a collective “we” where were all just human beings.

Or better yet we provide all living beings with basic rights and freedom.

That’s what I’ve found to be my truth

And here I am

Open to guidance and whatever else will provide clarity in this time.

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