Today was rough. It just was. And not because of the idiotic statements on my Facebook timeline from Whites and Blacks alike, but because it wasn’t the first and I know it won’t be the last of its kind. I was emotional and irrational and despite my many, many warnings people insisted on trying me. On challenging my emotions. On questioning my fear, my pain, and my rage. And my anger. My passionate anger and my desire to feel each of those feelings fully and intentionally. Today was not a day for peace, progress, and positivity – it was a day of mourning.
But WHY was I so angry? It wasn’t because of the lack of any indictment – many of us saw that coming. It wasn’t because of the ignorant comments – I’ve known for a long time that there was ignorance, various levels of “-isms”, and stupidty amongst my group of social media “friends”. It wasn’t even because of Michael Brown’s death or the pain of his family – those images are far too familiar -> to Emmitt Till and beyond. I was angry because I was hopeless.
But I work with and for young people. Black and brown young people who everyday I’m trying to inspire hope in. Everyday so many of us tell them that getting an education will ensure their futures. Everyday so many of us mentor and push them to aspire to greatness. Everyday so many of us demand excellence and greatness from them. Every day. EVERY DAY.
But what happens on a day like today? How do I give hope when I don’t have any? How do I look at them and give inspiration and not feel my spirit cry when I see the hope draining from their eyes? How do I challenge them to be better when they don’t think they’ll live long enough to reap the rewards? How do I give hope when I don’t have any? How do I respond when they say, “Now what?”
I can’t mentor them out of police brutality. I can’t educate them away from racism. All I can do is try to teach them not to hate, but still to live life on the defense. All I can do is inspire civic engagement. All I can do is tell them that they can be the one’s to change this country, but even that feels like a lie. I can’t protect them. We can’t protect them. And so none of that feels like it’s enough and less than enough feel like nothing. I give them the very best that I have – and it’s nothing.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t enjoy being angry. I don’t enjoy feeling hopeless. I enjoy these tears. I don’t enjoy injustice. I don’t enjoy pain. Yet so many feel so entitled to tell me how to feel. How to move on and how quickly the process should be.
Today was not a day for peace, positivity, and progress. It was a day of pain and mourning. And anger – so much outrage and rage. And I was entitled to it. And tomorrow might be like today.