Hope in Tumultuous Times

Zoe and Me

I sat on my couch with my brother. My 9 month pregnant wife just couldn’t do it and had gone upstairs. As much as we tried to keep the TV on Monday Night Football and the conversation on the any moment birth of my daughter we found ourselves watching Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s “announcement” of the Grand Jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown. We all knew it was going to happen but it still took the wind from my chest. I know that no freedom has ever been won by appealing to the morality of people and systems that have none, but I still felt the tears in my eyes and the fist in my throat.

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I knew that I couldn’t avoid it, for better or worse, I was going to be going in on social media for the next several days. I knew there would be folks I was tangentially connected to that would defend or make apologies for Darren Wilson and condemn the protestors. I was ready for that. What I wasn’t ready for was two of my former students chastising the protestors. These two beautiful brown human beings, who have lived a life full of struggle due in no small part to the level of melanin in their skin, were adamant that the protestors were mistaken and that race had nothing to do with what was happening. My spirit seemed to crumble under the weight of the reality of how utterly useless their education was. There are no stop the police from killing me or identify and dismantle white supremacy standards in the school I teach at.

What would they try to tell my biracial daughter? I’m not going for it.

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At 4:45 in the morning of December 1st my wife completed labor and gave birth to our daughter. I have never witnessed such strength and divinity in my life.

My daughter was born on the anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat. I stared into my daughters eyes and knew nobody was moving her.

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December 2nd 1859 the American government executed the freedom fighter John Brown. I am reminded of the ancestors white supremacy has erased and whose legacy I want to live in.

White people across the country are coming unglued over the centering of race in the growing movement for justice. I whisper to my daughter “Long live John Brown”

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It’s happened again. A Staten Island Grand Jury has declined to indict the police officer who choked Eric Gardner to death. The officer used an illegal chokehold and the death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner yet there will be no consequences. All of this despite the event being videotaped, making President Obama’s plan for body cameras seem rather pointless. White Supremacy gives zero fucks who is watching.

Protests erupt across the country. My daughter is fussing and I get up to change her diaper. This is my revolution.

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Today is December 4th, the anniversary of Fred Hampton’s assassination at the hands of Chicago PD and the FBI. The country is still fighting to save Black Lives from the police. The names race through my mind: Aiyana Jones, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Gardner, my daughter starts crying and cuts off the heart breaking roll call. I pick her up and hold her tight to my body quoting Chairman Fred “We are the people, not the Pig.”

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Tomorrow I will wake up and remind myself that I am human, that whiteness has not and can not take that from me. I am connected. I will engage any and all Europeans who want to deny the reality we live in and I will do my best to show them we are more than what whiteness has tried to make us. This is the least I can do for all those souls sacrificed at the altar of white supremacy. This is what I can do to make sure my daughter is not counted among them.

All Power to the People. 

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