We can do better.
They found George Zimmerman not guilty in Florida. I am not a person of color so I can’t imagine what that is like for someone who is but I care about the beings with whom I share community and planet. So I am enraged and resolved again. I am full of grief and fury again.
We can do better. As humans, we can do it better than this. The way we are living together is not good enough. It needs improvement. Our report cards are not glowing. We are failing. We need a tutor, a home school, rehab, an intervention.
I want love and compassion to mean something raw and fierce. They get tossed around as if they are sentimental words, not even close to a match for violence of the people in power who have it easier against the people who don’t have the privilege or the money who have it harder. Without these words, all we have is retaliation and revenge. Boy, do they feel good in my mind but they don’t help me live any better.
Yesterday, I wrote about moments from a rally and march for the justice that Trayvon Martin did not get. In one of those moments, a woman at the open mic asked all the young black men to come up to the stage. She asked the crowd to tell them “your life matters to me.” And we did. In another moment, an older black woman in her car wept as she watched the protestors take the streets with signs that said “Florida laws bear Strange Fruit” and “I am Trayvon Martin”. She kept saying to folks who passed her, “Thank you, I didn’t think anyone would notice.”
People say brilliant things when I tell these moments to Facebook, about the ways that moments create realities of liberation, and moments added to moments build movements. I believe them. I know we can do better. I know that our love can be as dangerous as our rage.
I love you. Wake up. I love you. Let’s stop the hunting of people of color. I love you. The numbness the culture encourages in us is not better. I love you. Please look at me and not at your phone. I love you when you don’t say it exactly right. I love you in your sexy brown/black/red/golden/pink body, gender full, ageless, always the perfect size to be adored even if prone to pain.
I love you when you are mad about the ways we could do it better and aren’t doing it better. I love you and I can sometimes barely take care of myself and my family. It is often hard to love you. I still want you to have food and clean water and a safe, warm, dry, place to sleep. I love your right to speak and cry out. I want you to have the right to love who you want without fear. I love your fearlessness.
I love you. I want you to stay alive. I love your song. I want to know where you feel most at home. I won’t stop seeing you. I love you. Let’s stop the lynching. I love you. I want to understand how it is for you. We are not the same. We are just the same.
How can our love be the same as our action?