My heart has been heavier than usual the past couple of weeks. I’m saddened by the loss of life at the hands of a grave evil and injustice. Too many Black men and women have lost their life through state sanctioned murder.
It isn’t anything new. There is a deep history of system racism bleeding throughout the institutions of the United States. As a non-Black person of color, I know about this. As a non-Black person of color, I have some privileges that aren’t granted to Black and Indigenous People of Color.
We need something to change. We need the abolition of policing as we know it. We need the defunding of police departments. The people know it. The people demand it. In all 50 US States, and all over the world, people are calling for major change - not just reformation. It’s happening through protests on the streets. Through democratic votes. Through advocacy at the local levels of government.
On June 4, 2020, I exercised my right to freely assemble. I joined a crowd of 10,000 people led by six teenagers between the ages of 14 & 16 to march the streets of Nashville to demand justice - to declare that Black Lives Matter. The march was an emotional experience. Everywhere I looked was somebody expressing themselves in unique ways. People were angry. People were sad. People were joyful. Some walked gracefully. The people were diverse.
But throughout it all, there was one thing I never expected it to be - spiritual. Halfway through the march, in the middle of downtown Nashville (a place normally filled with tourists visiting the many country-themed bars), there was a moment. A moment where, when I couldn’t bring myself to cry physically, I was able to cry spiritually - kneeling on the ground, hands in the air with protestors around me chanting “Hands up; Don’t shoot” as police surround this peaceful protest in riot gear.
I prayed for the first time - or at least the first time in a long time. But my prayer wasn’t for me. It was for my Black siblings. It was for justice. It was for an end to this great evil.
It didn’t last long. Not because I don’t want those things, but because I still don’t know who I was praying to.
But at that moment, it made sense. We are body. We are ghost. The march was an intersection of both.
I was safe in that moment, but that isn’t always the case for Black bodies.
Resources for Anti-Racist Thought:
- The 1619 Project | The New York Times Magazine
- “Who Gets To Be Afraid In America?” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi | The Atlantic
- Antiracism Resources | Adapted by Good Good Good
- Anti-racism resources | Curated by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein