My Birthday Wish:A Reflection of the Times...I love celebrating my birthday. I celebrate the entire month. I am so thankful for life. This year for my celebration I am taking the time to honor the young man whose life and death will be yet another catalyst for change. I honor him by dedicating my life to nurturing future and current educators with the courage, tenacity, deep care to teach the hate out of our country’s men, women and children. Override the injustices to teach so that we can make the world more just…one child at a time…maybe even one lesson at a time.
I am an educator. I became a teacher in the 5th grade when I taught everyone I could…friend or foe, how to read with expression. My dream then was to make a difference by making reading a joy. As I grew my definition of making a difference shifted. I began to believe that I could be one of a cadre of people who could change the world. I was born into a time of resistance and activism to a people who fought, lived and died for me. I wanted my life to honor them and their prayers, hopes and dreams for me and those of mine yet to be born. Maya says it best…”I am the dream and the hopes of the slave”
As I prepare to celebrate my life…my birth, I find myself asking what I can do to make the difference that still needs to be made? How do I use the gifts God has given me to over-ride the hate…embedded in the mind, body, and spirit. I can I help over-ride the self-loathing, and hatred of others. Growing up, some of us heard a parent get the switch and admonish the child telling them, “I’m going to beat the Black off of you.” Is that what they were trying to do? Beating the Black of themselves by beating Tyre Nichols…for being guilty of being black. Could they beat him enough…and others like him, young gifted and black to make themselves feel worthy? Are young black men their sacrificial lambs?
I can’t help but look at the photos of the elite squad of officers of the law who became murderers. When those photos were taken you know their families…mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, fathers, sons, uncles, grandparents, and communities of people celebrated their achievements. They were the ones who made it. They overcame the streets, low expectations, misrepresentations, micro and macro aggressions to become men in a position of honor. They probably had dreams of being a policeman as little boys, being the good guys when they grew up. They were our success stories. Some of us search to discover our “why” when we are becoming whatever it is we dream of being. Is that why big enough to discard the deep-seated loathing enshrined through society’s misrepresentations based on race, religion, nationality, ethnicity? How can the venom of people maligned throughout history, then barely taught…and now going undercover with laws to enshrine a massive coverup of atrocities here where we have super heroes whose creed is “truth, justice and the American way.” How did the malice and hatred against people of color find itself rooted so deeply into these officers of the law’s subconscious minds, bodies and spirits that they could kill their own. Actually, to do unto a young African American man what could have been done to each of them at any point in their lives. Could have been done unto their biological brothers, sons, nephews, fathers, uncles.
There is no one answer. I only know I must do what each of us must do…that is to do something. Take who we are, what we are, what we do, how we do it…to use it to make more than a living…or to go beyond being celebrated. Do something so that we will become the change we seek. Then when we sing happy birthday to us…we can sing for the births, the lives, the dreams, the activism, the sacrifices of the countless generations of us upon whose shoulders we stand.
Love and realness,