Tonight I told my kids they had to play in the yard and stay close to home. There were riots and looting in my city last night, and more are forecast for tonight. I explained to the kids, who are 12 and eight, that a white cop murdered a black man and people are angry.
They were confused. I think they were a little scared.
Our state’s national guard has been mobilized and our city’s mayor has enacted a curfew.
So we wait.
I am infinitely blessed to have been raised, and to still live, in one of the most liberal, tolerant states in the nation. We pride ourselves on freedom of religion, thought, and sexuality. We are an artistic, eclectic community of randoms who love the ocean and grassroots advocacy.
Over the weekend, while the rest of the country blazed in flames of violent reactivity to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white cop, my state had a peaceful protest. It felt good to be able to say we were peaceful, even through intense anger and grief at racial injustice and terrorism.
I did not expect that 24 hours later, hundreds of people would descend on our capital city and set it aflame, smash it up. The cars that transport our state’s neediest foster children were smashed and burned to ashes.
All of this news dominated the cycle all day. Many of these characters involved had nothing to do with the essential Black Lives Matter movement, and had everything to do with inciting violence, fear, and terror on our state.
Watching it unfold, I felt fear and sorrow. I felt things I’d never felt before.
I read theories about rage people are feeling in the midst of the pandemic, economic strife, and racial disparities of death from Covid 19.
Fuck my heart was so heavy.
I was frightened for my children. I didn’t want my boy to go biking with his buddy, and I did not want my daughter to leave our yard, not even to walk the dog.
As I cleaned dinner dishes, I watched a bunch of bunnies hop around in our yard. I found it hard to believe our bucolic landscape could soon be dominated by flashing lights and sirens.
It struck me.
This isn’t even a fraction of what black mothers have felt for decades. Centuries even.
This does not even touch on the fear and uncertainty regarding safety, and it my privilege reeks that this is the first time I’ve ever had to be scared like this.
Let me be clear, I don’t condone any violence ever. I don’t ever want to see anyone hurt or harmed. I do not want to see anyone’s business suffer.
But if somehow we can understand even a shred of what our black friends and brothers and sisters have experienced all of their lives, and all of their ancestors’ lives. . . then it is worth it. The looting and rioting is worth it, because we need to know.
We need to understand what it means to have had black bodies looted for all these years by white people in power.
We need to know and we need to make amends.
Please consider donating to one of the charities that support the legal funds of people arrested in the recent protests. The following link has a series of resources for where you can either amplify your voice to assist in the movement, or to help those in need.