After this tragic week, I was eager to go home and rest and indulge in a little self care. But first I stopped by my sister’s place. I sat in my parked car and watched my nephews and their best friend walk down the sidewalk after leaving a nearby store. They got some snacks for tonight’s movie night.
Walking down a Saint Paul, Minnesota street in Highland Park just a few miles from the site where Philando Castile was killed.
I have walked down these streets many times when I was their age. When they got closer to the car, they ran a little faster so I got out of the car and they wrapped their arms around me–filling my soul with love. By this time, my sister also joined us.
At first I just thought they were happy to see me because they always hug me tight. But my sister -the nephews’ mom- asked them what was wrong. They said they were scared. Their friend elaborated…
Apparently a “bad man” was in the store and told them how much he hates black people.
I didn’t expect to be standing on the side of the road tonight comforting my nephews and their friend–telling them how beautiful their skin is and how not all white people are like the “bad man” in the store.
I didn’t expect to have to suck up my own tears because of the reality that we will most likely encounter this again and how I’m just thankful the man used words and not bullets on their precious little bodies.
Before my father took his life he told me that this world wasn’t made for us and that I’d figure out why one day. I hate how right he was. I refuse to become bitter, though, because there is another generation in my family depending on my smile and quiet strength to persevere through the madness and darkness of ignorance and hatred.
Whether it’s during a traffic stop, or at a justice rally, or driving through town, or going to the store, or playing in the yard, or going to work with an innovative idea… Black people are people. Black people have dreams and families and souls.
I will always walk with my head held high and I will always look for the best in each circumstance.
BUT tonight, I’m issuing a clarion call: No more#MinnesotaNice. Minnesota is constantly ranked as one of the best places to live and raise children but somehow these studies never take into account the lived experiences of people of color….? Why is that?
No matter what we do or where we go, we are black and black is beautiful.