On November 24th I peacefully protested the systematic devaluing of black and brown bodies. I saw so much anger and frustration. Inside my soul was crushed at the institutionalized racism that perpetuates society. I have written my experience down. I share my firsthand experience because it is so very different than what the news outlets are telling you. I am sharing my truth in hopes that it will inspire you to find the whole truth. Don’t believe those who profit off the villianization of blackness. Listen to those who were there. Those whose eyes were opened.
Walking towards the Ferguson Police Department building my eyes were open.
I was in the street with a sign.
Doing what my parents have always told me to do.
Stand up for what you believe in.
I was standing. My eyes were open.
I saw the policemen dressed in bulletproof vests, helmets and shields. I saw them maintain formation.
How absurd I thought to myself.
They stood masked, plastic soldiers. Was their expression fear?
But they are the ones who have weapons to kill.
And there we were, masked in disappointment and dressed in bullet non-proof anger and rage.
Angered because no one has the right to place greater value on a life because of the color of the skin it is encased in.
I walked away from the scene. Stood by a light post and cried because his bloody body stained the street.
Fuck the Police
I yelled Fuck the police*
*(just the racist, homophobic, misogynist ones)
I’ve always been wary of absolutes.
- - but our society is in black and white. Right?
I held tight to my friends’ peacoat.
Squeezing my other friends hand tight.
I was scared.
Standing there. I watched
My eyes were open.
I was right next to a reporter (middle aged, white male, gray hair)
When the tear gas started I was frozen.
I looked at him (because I still look at middle aged white males with gray hair as if they will always have the answer)
He kept talking to the camera as the camera man shouted
Steve get in the van!
Steve stayed right where he was. He looked through me. Another black girl.
Sometimes I forget
I am just
Another body filled to the brim with stereotypes.
Skin the color of sin.
I hear a pop and I was engulfed in smoke. I ran to our meeting point - the auto shop.
For one second I was alone. Then
Where is Dan?
Where is Dan?
I am coughing. My eyes are watering. My throat begins to throb.
I try to climb up a large ledge and I can’t.
A man helps me. He says I need to leave now.
Black and White hands pull me up.
Pulling my stone body.
Now smoke is rising on my right
I try to climb a short black fence.
Hop the fence
It seems to be simple enough. I can’t. I am stuck.
Straddling the fence. My body won’t do
what I’m telling it to do.
I stare at a reporter (middle aged white male, brown hair) a mask over his face and eyes.
I know he sees me.
My eyes were open.
But sometimes I forget. I am just
I can’t do it!
and then Sam’s palm is in my palm
and then I am over the fence.
Another pop and a cloud of smoke.
I can’t see
now I am crying, coughing.
Then hands guiding me.
Water in my eyes.
I am sobbing into someone’s shirt.
I don’t understand.
So much pain in the world.
I am empty.
My eyes are open and all I see is the black of night reflecting like a mirror the color of disappointment and rage.
That night must not be characterized by burning stores and looting. There is so much more and that’s the shit that didn’t make it to CNN.
I am still very shaken. Though I theoretically understood about the militarization of the police, that night changed me forever. It was like a war-zone and not because of the protestors. We all need to wake up. Wipe your eyes.
Educate yourself. Educate others. Recognize privilege. Have empathy. Realize we are all a part of the change.
Dismantle these oppressions in your daily life. Be an ally.
It’s all connected. To break one we must destroy them all.
Fuck the system. Fuck the norm.