I can't breathe.
I can't move. I can't think through the fog unfurling in my mind, clouding my thoughts. I can't speak. But most of all I simply can't breathe.
I sit down to write but my words have left me to sit and feel the weight of hope's absence press into my chest. I want to write, but instead I can only collect myself to sit and stare out at nothing while despair continues to scoop out my insides and rend me hollow.
I want to yell, to scream "FUCK!" at the top of my lungs and let my hands do the talking for the rage consuming my heart raw. I want to do something, ANYTHING, EVERYTHING to bring injustice to it's knees and behead it in one swift, clean, blow.
But instead I just can't breathe, and sit immobilized by grief, the only sound able to emanate between breaths the gnashing of my teeth. My knees buckle. A sob erupts from my throat, the force knocking me to my knees. I keen there on the floor beside my bed, hands clawing and tearing at my clothes, heart beating painfully and loudly in my ears as I try to give vocal utterance to the grief rocking my body.
Despair weighs heavy today. It's left me gutted and has brought me to my knees (again), but I get up. I have to. Have to take Alex to school. Will have to pick up Brennan later. The baby needs changing. So I get dressed. I answer Feminista Jones' call and adorn myself in all black, reminding myself that even though it may feel like it in these moments that come to rob me of hope, black skin is not a curse. It is not a death sentence. There are systems and laws and beliefs in place that will say and carry out otherwise, but from my gut comes the truth: Black is not a death sentence.
I get dressed. I change the baby. I take his brother to school. I go for a drive in the rain while the baby sleeps peacefully in the back and strengthen my resolve to not give up. I have Black and Brown boys to raise. I can't give up. Their Black matters.
I come home and open my laptop to come here and write. Some words have returned and are ready to be spoken. They don't feel like enough for such a moment as the one we are living, but they're all I have, born out of a desperate need to not give up.
Black is...our life. Black is meaningful. It is resilient. It is rich. It is love. It is home. It is beautifully resplendent in its glory and it is strong. It is important. It is human. It is living and breathing flesh and bone wrapped around heart and lungs. It is the brawn that built this country. It is the brilliance that has driven American innovation. It is dynamic, multi-faceted and nuanced in its genius. It is the creativity that's given birth to some of the greatest art and music the world has ever borne witness to. It is proud. It gets beaten and is pushed down by hate but it rises. It has survived the mass destruction that is white violence time and again and will continue to do so. It is worthy. It used to be sold at the highest price on the auction block but whether it be enslaved or emancipated, it will always be priceless. It is more than. There is nothing "minor" about it except the place your ingrained bias chooses to house it in your mind. It is my sons. It is my mother and sister. It is my brother. It is me. Our Black matters. Your negation of it doesn't cancel out this truth. Our Black MATTERS.
I'm selling two prints the art shop. Profits from one will be going to organizations dedicated to racial justice and empowering Black youth. Profits from the other will be sent to a fund that's been set up for Tamir Rice's family. You can buy them here and here.