This week has been tumultuous, heartbreaking, confusing, stressful, and rewarding all at the same time. The emotions are vast, deep, and tremoring. I am okay and I am not okay. I live in the area, of Long Beach, where lootings occurred on May 31st, 2020. It was horrifying, scary, and anytime I hear a chopper… a bit of me still trembles. On Monday morning I awoke to a city broken. In many ways, the city has been hurting, but it is more visible now than ever. In the past week — the city has come together to clean and board up the forty businesses that were taken down. A beautification project is underway, which speaks to the city’s resilience.
For the first time, in many years, I have been confronted with a glimpse of what it feels to have your body constantly harassed. As a woman – I am accustomed to being alert at all times but I have never experienced this feeling… Residents had ridiculous curfews imposed on them (Monday’s curfew was at 1pm), cops and national guards followed people of color the first couple of days, I felt I could not run or exercise without fear. I have to travel further to buy groceries and basic needs now… And yet – this is a new experience for me. An experience that many Black people experience every day in their daily life.
I grew up underprivileged in an indigenous community. My community has the second-highest poverty rate in the United States, with one of the lowest educational attainments, trailing only behind Native Alaskans and Native Americans. As an ethnically ambiguous person, I have been able to navigate various spaces to move up the social ladder but most of my community has not. I’ve dedicated the last seven years working on the intersectionality of violence as it relates to intergenerational trauma, colorism, gender-based violence, and systemic causes of poverty. I left the grassroots non-profit sector in 2019 because I was tired of doing the cleanup work, particularly in communities that would not acknowledge their own corruption and contributions to systemic oppression.
However, the onset of 2020 has reminded me that there is still so much work that needs to be done within my own circles and spheres of influence. How will I utilize the privilege I have, to hold others accountable for their anti-Blackness? How do I hold other communities accountable for not showing up? When will I have a conversation with my anti-Black siblings about anti-Blackness? This work is ongoing, has been ongoing, and will continue to be ongoing. Anyone whose done this work knows we are only on the tip of the iceberg. With this — I challenge my readers to have an honest conversation with yourself and with your family members. If you are struggling to understand this movement, ask yourself where or why you are struggling. Read about the systemic ways in which our Black brothers and sisters have been oppressed through laws and regulations. Challenge yourself, pray, and remember:
I am praying over this nation as we mourn the unjust murders of our brothers and sisters. I am praying that we challenge the hatred within our own hearts.
Readers, many good things have happened for me as well. God is continuously good to me, and he provides for me. I passed all my courses this semester with a 4.0 GPA and am expected to begin school in the Fall 2020 at USC. I have experienced so much hardship (heartbreak) the past few years and I am finally seeing the fruits of the many nights of tears and labor. I will save that for a separate post – for now … I ask that we pray together in a nation that feels divided. There is much work to be done.