Tears were streaming down my face at 5:30am this morning. The sky, still black, seemed appropriate as I began to grieve the loss of life of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I shouldn’t have been shocked but I was as I read that two protesters, who were seeking justice for Jacob Blake, were gunned down just hours before I woke up from my comfy bed in my comfy suburban neighborhood. Beyond the two persons killed, at least one more person was shot and injured.
The shock from the news didn’t wear off for quite some time. I was still crying 30 minutes after first seeing the headlines. I quickly realized I was in mourning. Mourning the life of people standing up for justice. Mourning human lives taken from the earth. And mourning the pain and grief their family and friends are experiencing.
But beyond grief, sadness, empathy and similar feelings, I noticed another feeling creeping in as I read the news- fear. Fear of putting my body on the line. Fear for all persons putting their bodies on the line. The fear that this is only the beginning as the November election approaches. And fear of the reality that alt “militia” groups are real, organized and may even have the support of local police. If not support of police, they are empowered by our leaders, politicians, and language of “property over protesters.”
As I began to realize my fears, I had to ask myself, am I really fearful that I’m going to lose my life the few times that I go out and protest? Am I putting myself first? Is death simply what I fear? Is the racist society in which my girls live what I fear? Why would I allow fear to overcome my feelings of sorrow as I mourn the lives lost last night?
Those early morning questions are still unanswered. But as the day has progressed, the tears have come and gone and come again. I’m still mourning and grieving. And I’m also angry. Outraged that this is the world my daughters are inheriting. Angry that they receive some privileges that other persons of color do not simply because Chris and I are white. But even angrier that Chris and I have privileges that my girls will never have.
Y’all. It’s not a level playing field for persons of color. My daughters will have to work twice as hard to get half as far as their white peers. It is a reality we see time and time again in this country.
Aren’t we, my fellow white allies, friends and family, tired of this yet? Are you ready to speak up and fight for social justice?