Every year, around my birthday, I write a post about myself. When I wrote regularly about self-improvement, it would usually be a reflection on how I’m achieving my goals.
Yet, when I reflect on being 25, within the context of our current world, the only emotion that comes to mind is anger.
I am angry. I am hurting.
I am hurting for my brothers and sisters who have to live through racism. I am hurting for those who have lost their lives for demanding a simple thing – respect.
I am angry for my brothers and sisters who have to live through racism. I am angry for those who have lost their lives for demanding a simple thing – equality.
Anger, in these times, is arguably the most appropriate reaction to the death of George Floyd and all our brothers and sisters before him. We cannot always control how that anger is expressed and we certainly cannot tell people to not be angry for that only works to silence their pain.
Demanding “cool pragmatism” simply says “take a number, we’ll get to you” then closing the shop indefinitely.
Must we come to sit at your table for justice? It is not as though we do not have space at ours. Our invitations are simply not accepted or acknowledged.
As I’m writing these words, Kendrick Lamar’s I Hate You has popped up…
Let me start off this letter saying I don’t like you, scared of you but I will fight you
I stare at the ceiling and think about you
Curiosity killing me, thinking of when Ima meet you
You introduced yourself to so many others, mothers, sisters and brothers, childrenKendrick Lamar – I Hate You (Letter to Death)
There are no black people who have not experienced racism, whether it is explicit or implicit or even been harmed by unconscious biases and systems that work to disadvantage them on a daily basis. Whether they are in the UK (as I am) or anywhere else.
I am simply lucky that I haven’t been pinned to the floor with a knee behind my neck.
Even though I’m 25, Tamir Rice will never be 25. Nor will Mike Brown. Nor will Trayvon Martin. Nor will… who is next?
We all have a responsibility to make the world better, to rid it from injustice and to not only look for the helpers – be a helper.
Even if it isn’t our fault. It will forever be our responsibility.