I wasn’t told to be quiet, but I wasn’t told to speak up either
The fear and pain of revisiting that night, too much to bear
I often wonder how many children play “hide and seek” with older adults who have a different mission than just finding them in dark corners of the house
I often wonder how many “innocent” moments a child has sitting on a family member’s lap
What I do know, in our community it’s often swept under the rug Too often
The cycle is allowed to continue and nobody speaks up
Even now, I’m only scratching the surface
If you have to question the way you’ve been touched or a remark from a family member gone too far
If you feel uncomfortable in a situation…
It may not have been right, 9 times out of 10
As a community we push off this issue or, simply put we just don’t listen to our children
Some people ARE just nasty
Some people REALLY need help
The cycle can’t be broken by leaving molestation, sexual assault, and rape in the family closet
I know you don’t want to hear this
But, that closet door should of never been closed to begin with
It seems as though we only open it up when it’s convenient for us
That convenience only comes when we open it slightly to throw another secret it
Then we have to rush to close it before all of the other secrets fall out
Scrambling to keep one foot at the bottom of that door so a secret doesn’t crawl out
“What happens in this house, stays in this house”
So many houses aren’t homes because secrets lie in every nook, running when the lights turn on like roaches
Family relations turning into family traditions like it’s normal
Sexual assault within a family is not a tradition we should upkeep
These conversations are NEVER easy
They cause discomfort
But does this mean they shouldn’t be had?
Of course not
Encourage your children to speak up
Know your children
Understand their language at every age
Trust and believe them
I thank God that my mom knew the translation of my words when I said, “He showed me his elbow”
Not missing the translation of my words and realizing the truth
So many of us haven’t even been able to deal with the secrets in our family closet
Remove your foot from the door, it’s ok
And please, listen carefully, our children need us
A Tribute to the Black Queens & Kings Who Serve/Served AmeriKKKa, We sacrifice for this country Our family’s heart beating fast whenever there’s talk of war Then we come home and our skin doesn’t get us the respect we deserve We die for this country And this country turns around and kills us on “our” own soil We fight for others to live peacefully in this country Then turn around and can’t find peace in this country We come home needing counseling for this country Gun shots in our neighborhood taking us back to the war we fought for this country Can’t run from the demons in our head because of this country We celebrate Memorial Day for ourselves because we know we’re already dead in this country While away fighting a war that isn’t ours to keep our family safe We know there’s still a war at home in this country One we can’t run from, one we can’t win Thinking of the many brown men and women who have died for this country Bodies sent back in body bags with the same resemblance of Tamir Rice in this country Man…F this Country Gonna tell me this man got fired due to a fallacy just so he can walk away free in this country? Yet a 12 old boy gets killed in cold blood, there’s no justice, you see? AmeriKKKa, you aren’t fooling me Got my people fighting for this country but you won’t even fight for me Oh AmeriKKKa, Oh AmeriKKKa God shed his grace on thee Because the moment we all rise up, you’re gonna need that blessing, trust me The hatred you instilled in our hearts against one another is slowly decreasing As more of us continue to spread light & love to one another You’ll no longer hold a grasp on thee I salute all the Black Queens and Kings who have sacrificed their life for me I’ll appreciate you more than this country ever could And I know we aren’t free, so those words I’ll never sing But your duty doesn’t go unnoticed, at least not from me
I’m black enough to say how I feel when you disrespect me But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to hustle and get mine because this country has taken so much from me and my ancestors But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to be scared when getting pulled over by the cops so I question their motives But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to understand you see me as a threat because you’re brainwashed But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to scream and march for injustices But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to question you when something doesn’t seem right about the process you’re putting me through But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to run away scared because your people are killing us like animals But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to drive backwards in the street because I’m scared But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to blast my music in the car with my friends But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to wear a hoody everyday, as if it’s attached to my skin But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m so black that I can’t hide it But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to know my roots AND my rights But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to self educate But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to uplift MY community But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to be proud of my black skin even when I’ve been told I should be ashamed But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
I’m black enough to wear my afro, my locs and my curls But that doesn’t mean I’m a threat to you
The same way I self educate myself, I wish you would too…
You would see the beauty in my people, the things we’ve been through beyond the scripted shows
Then, you could see too I’m no threat to you
“Don’t worry, just pray about it”
But, what happens when prayer doesn’t reach the dark thoughts in your head?
What happens when these thoughts cloud your judgment and you act off of instinct versus reality of the consequences?
Oh, what happens when you’ve been through so much that you believe God isn’t real and prayer is no longer an option?
Why is it so hard for the black community to believe that depression is real?
We have been systematically oppressed and thrown into communities that effect our mental health daily
Have you ever stopped to think about where our depression stems from?
Besides the chemical imbalances that lead to mental health issues… Guns, Drugs, Violence …
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) never gets the chance to become a thing of the past because it happens everyday and we can’t get a hold of the madness
There’s counseling set in place for those that return home from war, but what about the war that happens everyday for people of color?
The anxiety that builds when a cop pulls us over for a simple tail light
The many times that sweat has built up behind my back when passing by a parked cop car, hoping that he doesn’t pull me over for going 5 over the speed limit when he sees my skin
The fear I get when I see people of color pulled over on the side of the highway and I make myself remember exactly where I was in case a story comes up about a trigger happy police officer … Oh wait, they kill with just their hands too Countless bodies dropping, drugs slanging, violence thriving
We have GOT to start utilizing counseling
Why do we push off situations that hurt us mentally, to God without realizing that mental help is on this earth for us?
“Just pray about it”
But what happens when we feel the prayers are going unanswered and we’d rather not hear anything anymore?
When we see the prayers leaving our lips but get caught, not reaching the God everyone says is out there
“It’s gonna work itself out”
What does working itself out mean in a world that’s jumbled up like a puzzle and no piece seems to fit, except the conclusion of violence?
Not giving out any excuses, but why is counseling so damn taboo?
We need to TRUST professionals to help us
Why do we have the perception that going to counseling makes you, “crazy”?
When realistically it’s put in place for prevention
We begin losing the meaning of reality because we fail to realize our demons can be deeper than a prayer
We’ve been stereotypically labeled with ADHD and Bipolar disorder for so many years
“Put that kid on medicine, they need help”
When all they need is structure and a positive outlet that doesn’t include a million pills
Walking around as zombies and losing their childhood for simply being a kid
Parents will listen to the professionals when it comes to, “calming that kid down”
However, when that child gets older and really needs help, it’s nowhere to be found Suicide is the 16th leading cause of death for blacks of all ages
How many times were they told, “just pray” before they felt like praying just wasn’t enough?
When will we realize that mental illness in the black community is serious?
We have to utilize the tools that were put in place for our healing
We have to wake up and stop pushing that family member or friend to the side and telling them, “just pray about it.”
How I maintain my sanity through the craziness of the world…. I mean, I really don’t know to be honest Sometimes the sadness & hatred is too much to bear I get asked so many times, “How do you find release in your line of work?” I want to tell them that I don’t really find release That the names, faces, and stories of my slain brothers and sisters haunt me, yet keep me fighting for them at the same time That I carry their stories with me everywhere that I go That I fear their story could too be mine, or someone I know It’s odd because through the chaos, I still find peace The ability to know why I’m here Why I write, why I coordinate, why I fight Why I don’t mind putting my sanity on the back burner to ensure the next generation loves and appreciates their skin more than I did To make sure they never doubt how beautiful their pigment is To make sure they acknowledge discrimination and combat every glass ceiling built to make sure they don’t succeed I’m okay with carrying the weight of sleepless nights as I look at the ceiling trying to figure out my next project to implement change This was never about me This was never about you See, we so often fail to realize that our words mean something That our actions reach far beyond the split second it took us to react to a situation What are you willing to sacrifice to make a change? I don’t mind people thinking I’m crazy, too out spoken, or too optimistic when it comes to the love I want to instill back into our communities I will write until my fingers go numb if that means I’m changing a life, even if it’s just one WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE TO MAKE A CHANGE? I let go of my peace of mind awhile ago…. And I’m okay with that because I still find peace in the chaos What are you willing to sacrifice to make a change?