Today I posted a plea on my Facebook page. I would quote it here but I had to log off for my own sanity. I begged people not to share the video that was released of Samuel Dubose’s murder with me. I implored them to please put trigger warnings and place spaces so that those of us trying desperately to practice self care would not be forced to watch it. We knew for over 24 hours that it was coming. When people started emailing me that the press conference was starting I literally felt my heart racing, my palms sweating and the tears forming in my eyes. I can not handle this today.
See, I am a writer and a reader. When I read someone’s words my mind makes pictures. I already knew all of the details of Samuel’s murder from the written reports. I already knew. I already saw it. But imagination and reality are opposites. I did not want to SEE this man murdered. I have no space in my spirit for another murder. I have no room in my spirit. I have to maintain my sanity.
I wrote the post. People shared it. People expressed their similar feelings. Then, it happened. I was scrolling down my timeline and before I realized what I was seeing there it was. Murder. In front of my eyes. Straight through my gut. My heart shattered. I fumbled with my mouse trying desperately to scroll past it. My mouse seemed to be made of some slippery substance. I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t see through my tears. A visceral reaction.
I logged out, heart racing, tears flowing. I ran to the bathroom and sobbed. A coworker knocked on the door. “Are you okay Dana?”
“NO! I’m not okay. I shouldn’t be. Neither should you”
How can this be life? How can this be okay? Why aren’t we ALL raging in the streets?
He was the father of 10. He had 4 grandchildren. He was a son. He was a brother. He was a friend. He was loved.
You are at work and you get a phone call from your 15 year old child.
“Mommy they let us out of school but there are no buses to get home. Police in riot gear are at the bus stop yelling that we need to leave. Where do I go Mommy? I’m scared.”
You are sitting at your desk at work when you get this call.
You tell your child to go back inside the school. “I am coming to get you. Go inside the school and wait for me.”
You tell your boss you have to leave. You gather your things. You run to the car that you are lucky enough to own when your phone rings again.
“Mommy the school won’t let me back inside. I don’t know what to do.”
As your child cries on the phone your mind races.
“Find a store. Go in the mall. Go somewhere safe. Somewhere inside.”
As you race towards the school your phone rings twice more with your child detailing the places she has been denied entrance. In the background you hear cops screaming, kids screaming and the sickening thud of things banging.
When you get to the area of your child’s school you can not drive in. Streets are closed to traffic. So you park illegally and run the blocks to your child, huddled against a building with 4 of her friends. As you walk them out of the danger zone you see kids with no adult presence for them. You see cops in full riot gear. You hear helicopters. You see a kid throw a rock. You see cops throw rocks back at kids. You are stopped by a cop who wants to know where you are going with these kids.
You finally get home. You turn on the TV to see that the situation devolved in to the mayhem you knew that it would. The children are being vilified and no one is even interested in the truth.
Now open your eyes to reality. THIS HAPPENED! our country. This is what happened in Baltimore. This land is your land. This is the genesis of the “riot” that burned that beloved (sarcasm) CVS to the ground. (May it rest in peace)
This is what greeted 13 to 18 year olds who had planned a peaceful after school protest. THIS!
If you are not actively doing something to help you are part of the problem. Your involvement can run the spectrum from sharing truth with the misinformed to marching to letter writing to activism. Spread truth. Refuse to be steamrolled by propaganda. This is OUR country. Wake up.