All Monday morning, I have been trying to find the right words to describe my overall feeling. What else can I say? My heart is broken for this country. Over 300 people died in Mexico, there is no power in Puerto Rico, and economic, nuclear war, and environmental issues are arising. Yet, people chose to use their anger and frustration this weekend over a knee to the ground…are you kidding me?
The future that I am desperately working so hard for is beginning to appear blurry and uncertain. Negativity is so popular now, opinions are not kind but deaf, and America’s priorities are nowhere near a place where I feel safe. I had to spend all day Sunday completely away from social media. As much as it brings awareness, as much as it is a platform for the silenced to be heard, and as much as it distracts you from the problems you want to ignore, it can create damage. Real psychological and aggressive damage. It is not healthy to watch, see, feel, cry, stress on every opinion that is said. I just could not hear “Wouldn’t you like to see these NFL owners…” anymore. This is what you want your president to be like? Curse out any American who has the will and courage to stand for something meaningful?
Currently feeling like James Baldwin right now. I need to get away from all of the anger that many people have; it’s suffocating. Ever since I watched his Oscar-nominated documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, I have felt his similar feelings regarding my role as a black woman and as a writer. There has been progress since the 50’s and 60’s, but much of the hate is still lingering around like a bad smell. Just like Mr. Baldwin hearing and witnessing people die because of their fight for justice and equality, we see the same today. It’s sad that in every interview he has been on, Mr. Baldwin expresses the same sadness, realizations, and struggles of America as many of us do right now.
Because of that, I understand why he left to go to France. Instead of Paris, I’d go to a different planet in all honesty. Tired of feeling numb. Tired of feeling afraid. Tired of praying every morning and night, and every tomorrow is a tad bit worse. The only thing I have left in me to pray for is my sanity and will to survive. I have to. This isn’t the way to live; to be met with problem after problem after problem in this political mess, and fear that the rights I currently have will be gone in 4 years.
I feel there is a lot of misunderstanding. We have to listen to each other. Kneeling has always been a sign of respect, and it was never about the flag or the anthem. There is no reason to be angry about a sport player’s right to protest. This all started when Colin Kaepernick kneeled in honor of the victims of police brutality and bringing attention to the issue. Because football games has millions of viewers every week, this was an appropriate platform to bring attention and start peaceful conversations. This is not something that should be misunderstood, but something all American citizens should care about.
Think about Puerto Rico and the number of Americans who still hasn’t heard from their families there. The island should be as much of a concern as the rest of the states. Build each other up in your communities. Take care of yourself, family, and folks surrounding you, regardless of race, gender identity, or sexual preference.
“It comes as a great shock…to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance…has not pledged allegiance to you. It comes as a great shock to see Gary Cooper killing off the Indians, and although you are rooting for Gary Cooper, that the Indians are you.”
As much as I want to be as courageous and adventurous as Mr. Baldwin, I will be here. Right here. Trying to find my position in this nation and fight for the dreams that will be tough to receive. Happiness and joy comes from the men and women who stand for something and fight for the rights they need to survive, not the privileged and close-minded individuals in power who wants to take them away.
To help those in Puerto Rico, please visit United For Puerto Rico
To help those in Mexico, here are a few options provided by The New York Times
For continued support for Houston, Texas, the Caribbean, and parts of Florida, please look into local organizations, GlobalGiving, or sponsor a family.