My Daughters are Not Safe in This America
It is the wee hours of the morning, when darkness surrounds, and sleep should be sweet.
It is still and very quiet in my home, situated in a wooded town near Yale.
Our house is on a serene tucked away cut-de-sac of colonials on lots of land, trees in the landscape, the ocean a mere 15-20 minute drive in any direction, peaceful.
Yet, I am not peaceful, I can not just marvel at the beauty around me.
I turned off social media upon the advise of a dear sister who told all of us Black women to attend to ourselves. I told my husband this vegetarian needed fried chicken, greens, cornbread, and some pound cake with strong coffee - comfort foods I remembered from my late aunts. He brought home some fried shrimp for me and we sat at the table with our youngest daughter to listen to her .
She knew what happened and it was written all over her face.
We were still processing the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Rosh Hashanah and that her family hadn't even had the service before the Senate Leader issued a statement that they would fill her seat. His statement came before some even knew of her passing.
It was not a restful night then.
I turned off everything and curled up under a comforter. Felt numb for all of the weekend and then emerged ready to keep the fight I have been on for people to use their voice and vote.
Then, Monday came and you could feel the tension.
My daughter went for a run, it is a mile if she runs up and down our street.
And two of my neighbors put out yard signs signaling they were choosing the side of hate, a candidate who clearly is unconcerned about my sixteen-year-old.One put up an enormous flag of that candidate a mere week after my daughters and I joined my husband in our move to the northeast. I thought this was a Blue state, but even in all this blue is a spot of searing hatred for our existence.
But the wife waved as she saw me drive by and she was out for an afternoon constitution. and their daughters waved from across the acres when they saw us outside last week when the first moving van brought our stuff.
Yet, it is not safe for my daughter.
I can not sleep in this America when Breonna Taylor, an essential worker in this world of Covid, was asleep in her bed and was murdered. That was in March 2020 when the Covid deaths had not reached into the unconscionable. Just a month after Ahmaud Arbery was trying to stay fit in and was merely running and was gunned down. So many after Breonna, that the cries of Black blood are mingled between unmemorialized lives lost from Covid to being murdered or having racial epithets hurled like assault rifles waved at passers by, the cries the silent cries.
My daughter in college is a freshman. I checked in on her and her friends. She told me she was ok and then did what the Gen Z often does when they need to process, call each other. I could hear her and my baby girl, a junior in high school, talk way into the night.
I do not feel safe in my home, all 4000 sq ft of it. Where in here can I hide from the raging hate that is in the air as dangerous as Covid 19?
How do I let my daughter go back to her school on Friday? I want to keep her here, in her room, in virtual space, but know that she needs to make friends, being a new kid. Tuesday and Friday, we emerge from our home to venture out.
What do I tell her? When does her Black Life Matter?
The rumor is that this same administration of hatred, a puppet of the senate leader who has shoved 200 judicial appointment into lifetime positions while the country was distracted by the antics of the orange carnival barker. The one they are planning for Saturday is public and he is doing his usual overbearing, doublespeak, justifying this just 40 days before a Presidential Election.
And the Black in skin only Attorney General in the State of Kentucky announced his run for Governor.On the back of an innocent Black woman's murder that signaled to his white constituents not to worry, his skin was only Black, but he would be "their" governor. He planned and had a wedding to a pretty white girl in the middle of pandemic and protest.
I do not know what to say to my daughters right now.
I am angry.
And feel a dread I have not felt since six days after my fifth born, first daughter, was a newborn and those towers came down as I watched the morning news.
What will become of their tomorrow?
What kind of place am I leaving them?
How much more do we have to fight to be seen, loved, wanted, protected?
Malcolm X was right, we are the most unloved, unwanted, and unprotected.
They erase us and lump us into being women of color to not see our Blackness.
While white women steal our Blackness and make careers from it.
I can't sleep.
Do I get bullet proof glass for my windows? Can someone ram their way through the stained glass and wood front doors? What about through the thick wood of my side door?
My fear is not unfounded.
They have shown us what they think of us. All summer. Louisville held over 118 days of consistent Protest and we saw someone, a white kid, travel across state lines to take open shots on Black people and protestors who stood with Black folks. He is a year older than my youngest daughter.
We are not safe.
Not when someone is already in custody yet the police put on armor and in the darkness of night ram their way into the wrong apartment shooting. yes, Breonna's boyfriend shot back, it was his castle, he had a license, and he was not who they were looking for.
But the inditement was because the police scared the white people who lived next door to Breonna, nothing was said about the Black couple who lived above her.
Her life meant nothing to the judicial system.
The judicial system where municipal judges are elected and all of them have eyes on the prize that is being stolen from RBG's most fervent dying wish.
We are mere weeks from the election.
In my fear, I can vote.
In my new state of Connecticut, they automatically send you an absentee ballot when they send you your voter registration. My registration was completed within a week. I will vote. I will keep working so other's use their voice.
And in my fear, I will keep speaking up and out for justice. I put my pen down for a while after 2016. I was rendered numb that day and took my thoughts to seminary so I could wrestle with how people who claimed to love could vote in such vile evil.
My daughters are not safe in this America, but I will keep fighting to make it so.