note to a friend during the blm protests

on speaking out...
i find it hard because my town is very divided and my daughter is in the school system here, and it's a very active parent community, and i don't want my daughter to feel any more pain than she already might.
i find it hard as well because i have dear friends on the police department here who already won't talk to me because i've spoken out.
in this town, i might face more pain for speaking out, than i would for hiding who i am.
yet i do speak out...
with all the rage? no... gentler...
tread softly and carry a big stick.
i will stand up for the cause because i am black, because my daughter is black, and for every black and brown person who has ever felt the fear that i do now.
growing up in this town was hard.
in kindergarten, the little blonde girl refused to hold my hand during a circle time game because she thought the color of my skin meant i was dirty. this was allowed, she was told to move spots. i remember looking down at my hand wondering if i had been digging in the dirt at recess. no. i had been on the swings.
in first grade, my teacher publicly humiliated me every chance she could, and my family sued the school for allowing her to. they won and i got glares from half the faculty from then on.
in jr high, there were pictures at the church for the directory, and the photographer left me out of the picture because he thought i was the nanny.
in high school, racial jokes flew around me, and i had to choose to not care and was told i shouldn't care, because, i'm "not that black." yet i'd still be followed around the local stores as if i was going to steal something, and ignored if i asked the clerks a question. i both existed as a criminal and didn't exist as a human at the same time.
not black enough, not white enough.
by the time i was in college i had lost all connection with myself and assumed the position of giggling off the question, "no offense, but what are you?!" 
hard question for someone who learned to pretend away her blackness to better fit in with her community...(and family...) 
i stand for her.
and anyone who ever felt this.
we need systemic reform. yes. but that can't happen unless hearts and minds and eyes are opened. how do you open your eyes if you don't know they're closed? i hold hope that we find a way to do that.
i want peace. but i'm afraid that asking nice hasn't worked.
there are many people in many communities who might feel this fear. yes we have to speak out, but we also have to live here. our children have to live here. the fear of retaliation is a very very real thing.
we do what we can.........
we listen, we learn, and we take the actions that we can....
i love that you speak out, and that you face the wrath so bravely.
much love to you ❤ ✊🏽


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