Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I'm So Tired of Going to Vigils

My White mother tells a story about how, when she was growing up, she and her Black best friend would scandalize strangers by telling them they were sisters. My younger Black children look to their older White siblings to see why this is funny.

Change does happen, slowly, generationally. Violence frequently accompanies change, we all know that, we’ve all been taught about the many wars and conflicts that have gotten us to where we are today.

But reading about it and watching live-streamed videos of it are entirely different things. Living through it is devastating and worrisome and frightening.  Watching it unfold can make you feel desperate.

I don’t want to watch.

I’m sick of all the deaths.

I’ve cried for so many strangers.

I’m so tired of going to vigils.

But here I am again, a slight reprieve from crying privately, to find some sort of solace in crying publicly. Instead of remaining isolated at home watching the horrific scenes unfold, I choose to make myself a visible proponent of peace. I choose to create opportunity for opening up dialogue with my children, with my neighbors, with strangers. Some I teach, some I learn from. I choose to be a non-violent catalyst for change.

These times are difficult and frightening to live through. But progress does happen. I look forward to one day telling my grandchildren how people used to think that “Black lives matter” meant that other lives didn’t--or that some people felt like they had to choose between only respecting the lives of people of color or the lives of Police Officers.

And my grandchildren won’t understand what I’m talking about.

Getting a hug from my daughter after I spoke. Photo by Peter Murphy

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