Okay, so today I have to write about the black and white elephant in the room. This is a black and white issue, so I will use those words. I watched the video of Alton Sterling yesterday. It was hard to watch, and it left me with chills, tears, and no words. I sat for 30 minutes trying to understand what I had just seen. Then this morning on my news feed, I see words, and videos, and suddenly see another video, where a black woman went live on Facebook because a white cop shot her black boyfriend. Here I am again, speechless, heartbroken, and angry.
If you aren't feeling the heaviness happening, you aren't paying attention. Listen, I'm going to need you, all of you to pay attention. We have to. It took me a while to decide if I could write on this, because the words weren't coming to me. I let it go until today, but I need to write on it. It may not be the best written blog because I have so many feelings but here's what I have.
When you watch these videos, you see these cops acting out of fear. Why they are afraid is the debate across the world right? We may not understand this, but because of this fear, innocent people are being killed. The more I watch the videos that exist of situations like this where black lives are being taken by cops, the more I feel like this is murder and nothing else.
This is how I see it, if you are going to act out of a fear based mindset, don't work there. Don't do it. I have a story I want to tell, about 5 years ago I worked as in home therapist for a company in downtown Atlanta, I got this job through a friend because I needed flexible hours to be home with Steve. I was the only white female that worked with this company and most of my clients were black. I went to these patients homes which were located in some very sketchy areas, with love. I went in there with an open mind and heart in hopes to help these people, and I was greeted with open arms every time. I was nothing like these people, and they were nothing like me; but we sat and communicated openly about things that enriched both of our lives beyond expectation. I had already become aware of my privilege when I first moved to Atlanta, thanks to my very first friends here (thank you Alex, Marcus, Savery, and Isaiah); but it was my first time I would witness just how mistreated these beautiful people were.
I only stayed at this job for a year, because honestly it paid crap and I left to stay home with Steve; but within that year I learned more about the black community and the heart ache it was carrying, than any other time in my life. The mistreatment, and racism that was so apparent it hurt my heart, and left me feeling helpless. There was only one time I had fear in this situation, and it was because I showed up to the apartment complex to see a new client, and a black man in his late 40's came up to me, and quickly put his arm around me to turn me back to my car. He said, with the fear of God in his eyes, "You can't be here right now, or ever, don't come back to this neighborhood." This wasn't because I was a white female, exactly, but because no one was safe here.
I remember coming to the office, and feeling very white in this moment. I didn't want to make it a race thing with me saying I couldn't see this client, and I had some fear that I had to let go. So I just with love told the story, and after I was done explaining what happened, my coworkers who in a short time had begun to feel like close friends of mine (who still pray and send sweet love to Steve and I, thank you), said, "Do not worry, we won't send anyone there if that's the kind of violence that is happening."
The reason I tell this story is this. When you are leading with fear, you don't see people as human. All you see are differences. These cops led with fear, saw the differences, and reacted in fear. Nothing of what they did was out of love. This is the problem. If you're afraid of people who are different than you, DO NOT BECOME A COP! I'm sorry, but this has to stop. No more senseless violence, no more killing because "YOU thought" they were going to pull a gun. If you are educated and have informed yourself on these stories, you will know there was NEVER a cause for the killings.
Is it corruption? I don't know? Maybe. To be honest the world is so full of that right now, it's another subject that we need to put a stop to. Is it hate? Maybe that too? Fear? Definitely. Is it senseless? Yes!
So what do we do? Seriously, that is the question in all of our minds right now, and if it isn't it should be. We have to do something. Just writing this blog, isn't me doing something, it's me addressing the problem.
Here's the very hard part of this situation. We are all angry at this cop/ these cops who have done this. Our reaction is to want to retaliate at them. That is NOT the answer. If this is going to be a true change that will actually stick, it has to be love based. It can't be adding to the violence. So what is it? It's time y'all.
The only thing I can think of is to send love to Alton's family, to all the families who lost a loved one because of the color of your skin. I'm so sorry this is happening. I'm just one person who spends her everyday's at home taking care of my husband, but that doesn't mean I can't make a change.
Maybe it starts with this. I am a white female who despite some circumstance is extremely privileged. I have a roof over my head, I live in a safe community, I have food to eat everyday, I don't have to worry about being pulled over and shot; because I am privileged. Maybe the first thing is acknowledging that even though it's 2016, racism still is alive. Maybe it's to stand up as a white female and plead with y'all to step outside of the fear, and get to know your black brothers and sisters.
Maybe it's the way we hire cops? An honest to goodness, "Hey are you racist? Are you going to act out of fear when you have to pull over someone who is different than you? Can you actually approach a situation level headed and not just pull out your gun and misuse your power?"
Look y'all I DON'T know, but what I do know is I'm hurting. The world is hurting. We have to stop.
Again, I leave with. Love is the only answer. So that is what I'm sending the world today. Yes even that cop, because if he had acted with love....we wouldn't be having this conversation.