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Today we have a guest post from Adz O who will talking about the RAW EMOTIONS caused by the death of George Floyd in the USA. Adz O grew up in London and now lives in the US with her husband and two small children.
Grab your tissues, you might need one.
I have had sleepless nights just thinking. I can’t close my eyes because every time I try, I can’t unsee. I can’t switch off. The newsfeeds: seeing my feelings represented amongst innumerable posts. I have so many words yet in the same breath, speechless. It feels surreal. I hold my children a little longer as they fall asleep. I quietly absorb the intricacies of their little brown faces; my heart filled with dread. A silent tear rolls down my cheek. I’m tired. It is exhausting. It is draining. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
It is an emotional life. Not week. Not day. LIFE. Every time racially motivated rhetoric is fabricated towards black people, it is a stark reminder of how damaged the world truly is. I navigate it daily. Every time a black person suffers at the hands of police brutality it serves as a reminder of the deep-rooted injustice experienced from black communities not just in the US but around the world including the UK. It is about focus not exclusion; Black Lives Matter because we are being killed at a disproportionate rate and continue to be subjected to immoral and unjust practices. We are not disposable. It is a lot to unpack. It is frustration. We are overlooked. We are unheard. It hurts. My heart is heavy. I am saddened. I have cried. I couldn’t watch passed a few seconds; seeing the pictures, reading the words and recounts has been plenty enough. He called out for his mother in his final breaths…
My son is on the cusp of turning one. When does he go from being the sweetest thing to a threat? Every time he lays on my chest for respite all I can think about is the picture of a young George Floyd sleeping tranquilly on his mother’s chest. It saddens me to think how many more years will I have with my son before he possibly becomes another hashtag or statistic. My charismatic and articulate toddler-gem-of-a-daughter; will she fall victim to the muting of her vulnerabilities? It weighs heavily on my heart. My beautiful children; my little lights. Will I even still be here to see them grow? Will there be a day when my husband does not make it home from work? There are many more of these real and warranted thoughts if you are living whilst black. Grim.
“It hurts to take their innocence away in order to survive.” -Nicole Ari Parker
So much preparation goes into raising black children. We are born with a grey cloud over our heads. It does not matter your successes or joy. It stays with you and creates an emotive journey through life’s triumphs and tribulations. And still we rise. We shine. We are proud. We are awe-inspiring. We are magic.
“Racism isn’t getting worse. It’s getting filmed.” -Will Smith
Humanity is a collaborative effort. If you are a supporter and advocate of the truth, human and equal rights, justice, respect, liberation, freedom, kindness, peace, and LOVE; this is your fight. This is EVERYONE’S fight. Black culture is so rich, far-reaching, and diverse with high levels of brand power, consumption, and exploitation. You simply cannot be for us if you cannot stand by us in all things. WE don’t get to choose.
To my non-black friends and family…
We talk about guiding principles of being a good parent or role model. Teaching right and wrong behaviour is a rule that encompasses all disciplines and is at the core of raising children to positively function and eventually be productive in society. Do not shy away from questions your children have. It is easier to teach children about racism than having them unlearn racist behaviour as an adult. No one is born a racist. Racism is learnt behaviour. Educate your children to love and value everyone; learn about diversities and cultures beyond their own walls. Show and teach them about affecting change.
“The truth is no one can be free until everybody is free”. -Dr. Maya Angelou
It is structural; racism is robustly built into the fibres of society. Roll up your sleeves, it is a hard subject to breach. You will have to step out of your comfort zone. It will be challenging but you can absolutely do it. Have an open heart. It will get easier. It will get passionate. Be courageous. Believe in your moral code. There will be casualties and tears. Don’t give up. Educate yourself on white supremacy, fragility, privilege, blindness, and ALL black history in order to really understand the convergence of the institution and systems put in place that oppress people of colour in ALL aspects of everyday life. The psychological damage to black people AND non-black people is DEEP-ROOTED.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” -Desmond Tutu
A conscious stand has got to be made against discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice. You have to seek and go beyond what has been shown to you; it will expose incognizant complicit behaviours, thoughts and statements. You have to do the work to deconstruct the belief systems and ideologies you have grown to know. Reversing years of propaganda, mistrust and unnecessary hate starts with listening, the critical discussions you have within your home and the actions you demonstrate outside of your home. It is an indefinite assignment.
Your first thought by just looking at this post (if you’ve gotten this far) will tell you all you need to know on where your level of awareness falls.
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire. (Author #Akala)
Click on hashtags, follow pages, look up websites, post on your page, re-post, comment. Use as many platforms as you can; it goes beyond social media activism. It is a representation of where you stand in the name of justice, inequality, and anti-racism. Be present. Speak out, sign petitions, protest. We ALL need to apply pressure to the wound. Push for structural change and intervention in curriculums, healthcare, policing, government, local elections, workplaces, film and media et al. The conversation does not stop. Do not let the dust settle. Be part of the solution and not the problem. Look at the why instead of how. Race is a construct. Racism is intentional. Racism is real. Racism exists; black people do not have the luxury of denying it exists. Take an active stance within your families, your social circles and your workplaces. Call it out. Stand firm. Solidarity and #allyship is not being unseen or keeping silent in the face of adversity. Support black businesses and initiatives. Commit to anti-racism in YOUR life EVERY DAY.
To those of us raising black children,
we continue to empower their identities and teach them their histories and languages; to celebrate and love every curl and hue. Help them strive for excellence in all they do and show them #BlackExcellence because representation matters. Enrich their self-esteem (what they may see, hear or read in mass media or experience is not indicative of who they are). Nurture their resilience. Reinforce their mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Continue showing love and gratitude for everyone.
This is not a PSA this is a reality check; a very significant one that challenges the core of a better future for this generation and ALL of our generations to come.
What are you doing to be the catalyst for change?
The reception and gravity of having this open and honest conversation beyond our black friends and family speaks volumes.
George Floyd’s death was not in vain. It has erupted something in ALL of us.
Truly grateful for you all who have showed your black friends and family hope and encouragement through your continued action and support. It is a long road. Together we shall overcome. Let us all continue to work together and make waves!
Please visit Adz Facebook page for this post shared with her permission.