I probably shouldn’t have chosen tonight to watch a movie about my people that propelled us to action. I dare not touch the tears as they flow from my face less than ten minutes from the start.
Forty years later and thousands upon thousands of bodies lying ten feet under – if they were so blessed as to even have a grave – I question how far we have actually gone.
How many times have I been told I’m not enough when I know I’m more than the status quo for its necessary simply to be seen as equal. How many times that the parts and pieces that make up me are sectioned off and praised but never the entire sum. But I was prepared for this journey by parents that knew far more dire consequences and struggles.
As my life outside of my native land rests in its 15th year, I can recall countless of my own stories that span cities, countries, continents that have never even seen someone that looks like me.
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Fearful sometimes of my fate, still I forge ahead. I keep pressing forward towards the front lines where I have often stood alone, because the few that do feel my pain are too afraid and conditioned to silence. Yet I need no army. I fear nothing. I’ve proven to myself many times.
I am NOT afraid to perish for what I believe.
For those that contend it is better over here when I know it is not, there is little that I can say to convince them otherwise and I’ve stopped the attempts. My heart bleeds fast and furious as it dawns on me, inches upon my very being that America is the best bet black people have and sadly the odds are stacked against us in this moment.
But betting man or not, I will never relinquish my vow to speak up and out. I will never stop telling our truth even when it falls on deaf ears. It would hurt me more to sit on the sidelines and count the funerals I’ve attended in my young life than do nothing. I owe more to the cause than I may ever be able to fully repay and I respect the duty of a future I may never see.
I grow weary but revive myself anyway. I am angered in this moment but refuse to have my joy compromised and shackled. If my forefathers persevered then so shall I. For at the end of the day I’m still in a better place because of their efforts.
Even if it’s inches.
So I shall take those inches, and stretch them slowly to miles as I traipse this world with my head held high.
As I do so, I will not brush away these tears. I WANT everyone to see.
I am a bundle of joy and pain and pride and resilience.
And I will overcome.