By Lauryn Vincent
Photo by Roc Paint Division
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
— Desmond Tutu
It does not make sense to me that we are still here. I do not understand why we see this violence, this brutality, this racism, day after day. I am struggling to make sense of a country that toots freedom but oppresses those that have a different skin color than what is taught to be ideal.
Our blackness should not be an offense to anyone that comes near us. The black culture is beautiful, our hair texture is stunning, our skin is gold. We are not a weapon, but it is hard for some people to think otherwise. We face microaggressions and violence all the time. It seems like there will never be an end to it because oppression has been systemized by the institutions that exist all around us. All I am saying has been said before. It has been repeated in different languages and with different feelings of anger, but it all means the same.
Every day, I think about my black family members and black friends. I am always asking myself if I will, one day, see their face on my TV or my Twitter feed. The trauma that is associated with these thoughts is unspeakable, and it hurts that some of the fear I harbor comes from this.
Please understand that when we say #BlackLivesMatter, we are not trying to diminish the lives of everyone else. What has happened to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Atatiana Jefferson, Ahmaud Arbery, among hundreds of other names, does not happen to all skin colors in America. It is at this time, when black souls are being ripped from their bodies by the hands of racism and violence, that we must stand up for them because they can no longer do that for themselves. Put your arms in the air for those black lives, even though they were killed for doing just that. Hold your head high and speak the truth because their waning breath prohibited them from doing so. Stand in solidarity with those who are protesting and take action against the injustices we have seen throughout America’s history and, unfortunately, now.
I have said it before and I will say it again; This is not the time to stay silent. These protests feel different for a reason. You and I both see it. It is not just in America anymore. It has spread to cities all over the world because we have all recognized that enough is enough. I’ve heard those sorrowful cries for an end to injustice before, but it didn’t work. I’m hearing those cries again now, and I can feel it… something is changing.
Here, at The Recreated, we value your voice. We want to hear from you and share your words with our greater community. I am inviting people of color who have been impacted by perpetual injustice, racism, and hurt to share their stories. I encourage you to tell us what your experiences have been– if you are comfortable– and how it has changed you. We are open to written pieces, art pieces, poems, and words of wisdom.
If you have friends, family members, significant others, or anyone that may be interested in sharing with us, please let us know.
Thank you for allowing me space to share my thoughts today.