I read a story written by a black mother that talked about the bricks she has to pack in her children's bags.
Don't wear this sweatshirt.
Don't go out in a group with other black people, but don't go out alone either.
Don't drive in this neighborhood, I know your friends live there but don't.
Don't be in a car with too many other black kids.
Don't run away, don't walk away, don't walk towards.
Don't make eye contact, but don't look away from.
Don't be too seen, don't call for attention.
Just come home to me. Just come back home, please.
Can you imagine how heavy that bag is, how many bricks are in there? Just come home to me baby.
I don't know how to read this and not ache, but I also have no idea what any of this feels like.
I have read and listened to so many in the black community talk about how exhausted they are. It's a never-ending war. I have read that each and every time, it is a reminder that they are less than. They are not as valued, they are not humanized. I don't know what that is like either. I don't know what it is like to not feel like you are part of society, you are not part of the human race. That I need to humanize myself to let you see me, I don't know what that is like.
All mothers worry. All mothers carry their babies long after pregnancy. All mothers want their babies to come home. But, this, it's different. It's a different feeling, it's a different worry. It's a life I cannot relate to and I am so sorry.
But, I am not tired. I haven't had to endure this always and forever, so I'm not tired. My kids are not tired, we are just getting started. I have not carried bricks, I have not placed bricks in their backpacks, so we are not tired. We can still move, I'm so sorry you have felt so differently for so long. I'm sorry for all I have done to contribute to it. I am sorry I thought not being racist was enough, and how much I did not do. I'm sorry it took the world seeing it on video to prove you right, and I'm sorry there are still some that do not believe.
I'm sorry that you are seen as a threat, that you are seen as scary, that you are seen as less than. I'm sorry that as white men continue to shoot up people, and churches, and even that Capital, they are not seen as a threat. I'm sorry it's always so different. I'm sorry that your communities are seen as less than. I'm sorry that protecting you is not an obligation, I'm sorry.
I'm sorry you have to show us pictures and videos of black pain, black joy, black families, in order to us to see you as a person, a member of a family. I'm sorry that we become the judge, jury, and executionist. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry that you are told how to protest, I'm sorry that we who have made you need to protest, also tell you the right and wrong way to show your pain. I'm so sorry that it's always so different. I'm sorry that we are not moving fast enough because for people, you move faster than this.
I'm so sorry but I promise I won't stop at I'm sorry. The job is done when you no longer have bricks to carry, bricks to pack, and when we disassemble the building.
I see you, I believe you, I stand and kneel with you, and we will figure out a way to throw the bricks away and create something so strong and beautiful.