7.07.2016

Black Lives Matter



I feel the need to write this because I am deeply saddened by what is going on in our country right now. Seeing Alton Sterling held down and killed without reason made me angry. The fact that this is becoming a trend is something I never want to get used to. But what really got to me was seeing the reaction of his 15-year-old son as his mother, Alton's wife, gave a press conference. I couldn't help but think about my girls and the rest of my previous students in that moment. My heart breaks for them because I feel like we're teaching them lies. We tell our students that they can be anything they want to be. We tell them that no matter where they come from & no matter what they look like, the sky is the limit. We tell them that all they have to do is work hard. But the innocent deaths of Alton Sterling and Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin have made it clear that it's not that simple. Being a person of color in America is not easy. We are judged without proof and our bodies are not are own. We are made to feel like we'll never be good enough because our blackness acts as a stunting red flag that restrains us no matter how hard we try. I am frustrated that my intelligent, deserving, and beautiful students have to grow up in a world that doesn't want the best for them. I am disheartened that there are so many ugly-hearted people in this world that will never know just how wonderful my students truly are. I am heartbroken that just because of their skin color, they will have to fight ten times harder than their white peers even when they've worked just as hard. I want the absolute best for my girls & my students and I am hurt that this world seems to want to do everything in its power to take that away from them.

Black lives matter. People of color matter. Life is a gift that should never be taken away. Skin color, economic background, religion, or ethnicity is never a reason for an innocent life to be taken. All of this stems from power & privilege. I recognize my privilege. My white mother, my career, my middle-class upbringing, and my college education assign a privilege that I am so lucky to receive. I didn't ask for it and the majority of my life has simply fallen into place without too much of a fight. I'm fully aware that I have a great privilege by which I can see the world through a different lens than others. However, people have never failed to point out my blackness, point out my difference, & point out my otherness. Having brown skin alone is enough to force us to dig deeper than we should. Being white in America is a completely different reality. No one is saying that all white lives are easy, but skin color is never a factor in their disadvantage. I cannot relate to the life of Alton Sterling or others like him - it's simply not my experience. But I can't deny the truth that his black life mattered and I cannot understand anyone who denies that fact. When black bodies continue to be taken, this country must remember that black lives matter just as much as everyone else's. We MUST support, love, nurture, and encourage black lives. They must be seen and they must be heard. We cannot sit back and watch this racism in action. Their life is of value and what they have to say is important.

As a teacher and leader I will continue to empower my students to rise above. Regardless of what the world  is telling them, it is not their truth. They define their worth, they define their character, they define their destiny. My job is to give them the pen so that they can write their own story without letting someone else write it for them. We will rise.

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