"To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time."--James Baldwin
I, too am Ahmaud, Sean, Rodney, Philandro, Malcolm, and Martin! Can anyone see we are all connected? It is unfortunate that the currency of compassion were not afforded them and scores of many like them across the annals of time. While their flesh may be laid to rest, their spirits reign abundantly inside of us.
As a firestorm of newscasts highlight yet another Black and Brown body brutally extinguished before us, for me and many men around, we suffer in silence. In this America, our intellect, commitment, Valor, and braun advance and innovate corporate conference rooms, classrooms, construction sites, canvases, and other spaces that benefit from our gifting, yet we find ourselves minimized, disregarded, and calloused. While our mothers, fathers, children, and partners demand excellence, presence, and masculinity from us, fellow bigoted countrymen figuratively and literally choke the life out of us. Internally, we struggle to be Men because we can bench 1000 pounds, run a 4 minute mile, and climb Mt. Olympus and still must remain measured and cower to someone who has 400 years of national empowerment that his "kind" is superior and can rightfully "put us in our place".
What pains me most is the trauma our children face in watching these painful images on the screen. Their frequencies, no matter how young, are attuned to the gradations of pain we men sing deeply in our souls of a madness we endure each day we breathe. While we want to offer them and our world so much, our reservoirs are often empty. In my 20 year career, I have chided my scholars for hosting counter-narratives of themselves and raised their chins to the sky as Kings and Queens of this land. Paradoxically, this imagery rarely finds itself as mainstream. The barrage of inequities we face, as a people, are met in classrooms, job interviews, housing registration, courtrooms, grocery stores, and so much more. It's no wonder why our kids are growing up afflicted by ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, autism, and more. And so many of our youth challenge us because they feel like we are feeding them a Big Fat Lie--that their effort, their voice, their light matters! #DeepEffinSigh
In this America, I can be killed for just being me. No medals or degrees or awards, or credentials I have earned will ever serve as a garment of protection from hatred I may encounter from a soul who does not see my humanity.
And I have to still find a way to be what each of you need from me. I am NOT OKAY. I am hurting deeply inside because another soul I am divinely connected to lost his or her light today because their melanin encountered malice.
I am choosing to keep the faith, to find some sense of reprieve in my moments among those who love and care for me and the men and women who also share the magic in our melanin. But there are times in which I close myself off from the world and cry bucket loads of tears, ball up in panic attacks, and punch at shadows in my dreams. Some times, I sit silently because I have no idea how I am going to make it through a day without screaming.
I appreciate all the messages. With hope, love, and collective action we may impact the world we live in. It happens in small acts of kindness, good will, and changing hearts of those especially who have never found relevance or resonance with humanity that carries a different hue. We all know it will take changing legislation with revolutionary leaders who boldly invest in our collective humanity as our next tide.
Here are some initial references that were shared with me or I have encountered that may provide some solace:
For those who are trying to figure out how to help....
Be Kind. Be Patient. Be Present. Check in. Do the work to Disrupt bias, hatred, and racism, even within yourself and among those you love, Extend care.
And I will do the same. I was chosen to relentlessly create spaces where souls can find peace and love. And it is time I stand up and do so, even if it means my life may be on the line to liberate my next generation.