I finally cried.
On Saturday. Weeks and weeks and weeks after Breonna, Ahmaud, George, Tony, Toyin, and Rayshard. I finally started shaking and tears leaped from my eyes. You see, I love my people fiercely. This love is rooted in legacy and history. It is rooted in shared struggles and intergenerational memory. There is love. There is pride. The kinship. That’s why I buried the pain. The hurt still escaped through sighs. The anger boiled deep within, but made me commit. The love kept me and made me stay and fight.
You see before the tears, I hopped into action.
I found roles in the movement. I donated. I curated a longer list of Black Owned Businesses to patronize adding to brands that have become a staple in my life. I found more work to do. I started working on food justice.
For rest and rejuvenation, I continued mindfulness. For dealing with the pain, I continued therapy. And for healing from the hurt, I took part in healing circles, Duo calls with family, and nice glasses of wine. I leaned into my creativity to make more connections and to feel free.
Everything was falling into place. The next piece in this movement work was my professional sphere. So I enrolled in a few webinars to be more mindful and intentional about the spaces I operate in. The field of education. Being intentional and reframing work to make it safe for me and to make it safe for all children. Especially children of color. Especially Black girls.
“I was encouraged” as they say at church. I was engaged. The Zoom meetings with their protocols were comforting. I could engage freely all while being secure. I bent down to pick up the pen to jot down notes in this virtual space where I was safe to be all of who I am and the image on the screen stopped me. I could not close the screen fast enough. I know how to operate Zoom. I know how to close it. But the screen got so small and then it got larger and the images will be forever seared in my recent memory.
It wasn’t the adult star performing her part; sex work is work. It was the smeared feces and the red letters that spelled out NIGGER that sent me. The imagery was strong. The message was clear. And when I finally found the Leave Meeting button, I exhaled. I was tense. And I could feel all of the anxiety. The pit in my stomach grew.
And then the tears fell.
My tears fell for Breonna who peacefully slept when she was murdered in cold blood. My tears fell for Toyin who after seeking refuge from sexual assault was assaulted again and murdered in cold blood. For Tony. For George. For Ahmaud. For Rayshard. Not for the racist trolls who invaded my safe space. I did not cry for the silent violence and use of a racist word, but for the lives cut short in a space where they should have been safe. In this space of America. In the safe space of their home. In the streets they should have been free to roam.
A cascade of tears. Pain. Hurt. Anger. Resolve.
A small act of hate can cause a cascade of emotions. Because it is violent.
And deep buried love cannot heal it alone. A cleansing has to happen. A freeing has to happen. A clarification has to happen. A motivation has to happen. A releasing has to happen. A movement has to happen.
Tears are purposeful. Tears are liberating. Tears are powerful.
And I accept them as purification. I process this pain and love and hate and continue to fight for my people.