Wednesday, July 6, 2016

You are invited.

#‎altonsterling‬ ‪
#‎trayvonmartin‬ ‪
‪#‎michaelbrown‬ ‪

Like many of you, my social media timelines have been flooded with frustrated, hurt, angry posts in reaction to the senseless death of yet another black man at the hands of police. This time, it was Mr. Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was captured on a grainy cell phone camera. Two cops took him down and shot him multiple times at close range ending his life. His kids saw that video. I saw it, too.

Here's what I'm thinking about:

Just maybe, you are my friend and your world hasn't been flooded at all with bitter one liners and battle cries from your peers about this. Just maybe, you have checked your social media threads of choice several times but, because this doesn't hit quite as close to home for you or those whose posts fill your screen, you had no idea about this incident until just now. If that is the case, consider this an invitation. First, to Google #altonsterling to understand what happened (if you weren't aware already.) Then, I invite you--my nonblack friend---to be as sickened, appalled and bothered by those hashtags as me.

That is, if you weren't already.

I want you to imagine talking to your sons about police and feeling your heart turn a tiny relieved flip when your husband comes home from a regular day--alive. Talk to your kids, make this a big deal in your house, and please, join us in being pissed off--because everything depends upon that. Nothing changes when we don't provide anybody space to empathize. But now that you have the space to stand with me, I want you to know that any indifference here forward will be hurtful--whether I am telling you or not.

I think we are all super guilty of polarizing others when upset about the things that affect our own communities. Our soapboxes are so tall that they make people shrink, hide and peep through their blinds like voyeurs. Black, white, straight, gay--we build these walls that won't let good people be allies--or at least let them ask enough questions to feel something. And no, I don't think it's intentional. Pain just makes us all impulsive.

At least that's what I think.

For my friends who don't know what it's like to worry in this way about your father, your brother, your husband and your sons. . .I want you to read this post (if you haven't already.) If you feel so inclined, you can also read or re-read this one, too. It will give you more perspective of what it's like raising black boys in America.


Then my hope is that you will accept my invitation. To ask questions. To comment. To say something. To feel something. But especially to be pissed the eff off. Because no movement ever really gets moving until more than just the oppressed get mad. My prayer is that we can all be a little more aware of each other's joy, pain, sunshine and rain.

This is our reality. Thank your God if it isn't yours.

Happy Humpday.


  1. This tragedy informed my thoughts and mood all day yesterday. I keep wondering what the hell we can do to change things because this is NOT ACCEPTABLE and I feel as if our country as a soul-sickness which has gone untreated for way too long. It started with slavery- the capture and enslaving of human beings and despite the Civil War, the freeing of those human beings, vast changes in laws and even, slowly, in attitudes, the evil of slavery is still upon us. And the descendants of the people who were forced to create so much of this country by the very bones and blood of their bodies are still enslaved by exactly what you talk about.
    I don't know, Kimberly. I have no answers but we have to start somewhere and people have to be taken to account for their actions. When will this simple thing start to happen?

  2. You know? I have no idea, Sister Moon. But I do think it starts with the things we do here--give people space to feel and be a part of it. Whether it is a racially charged incident like this (or the one that happened to Philando Castillo yesterday) or something in the LGBTQ community or something affecting a religious group. . . .I feel that sometimes our outrage is so specific that it muzzles the people that want to fight beside us. This is why I love the blogging community so much. We teach each other so much and I always feel invited to be a part of it. For example, Elizabeth opened my eyes to SO MUCH with disabilities and the fight associated with it. She affected how I teach my kids. You helped me further humanize the transgender community. With all of these beautiful black boys who are losing daddies and daddies who are leaving their sons, I want the climate to be one where everybody can march on Washington together--whether they gave birth to or came from a black man or not.

    I believe that this is where the solution will start. I also want to see Anderson Cooper cry about this, too. #justsaying

    1. I forgot to say thank you for being you. Love you, my friend.

  3. Another day, another name. My heart is breaking. Hold those beautiful boys close. And that beautiful man.

  4. And Grady Doc, I will keep it very real. I am very upset and disappointed in my non black friends. I have cried every cry at their LGBT issues, I have sobbed when they have had rape or sexual harassment affect their lives, and I have even given heartfelt condolences when their beloved pet died. So DAMMIT, where are all you people when we need you the most?? Where are all of those people on my FB timeline? It hurts, it really really does.

    1. This was actually my point, friend. I believe that many, many of my non-black friends are appalled. But in honesty what flooded my timeline was like a private discussion between a secret society. There are times that I feel like whomever is the victim (this time us, another time LGBTQ community) doesn't always create a space for others to step up and stand in solidarity. Like someone turning a double dutch rope super fast and those who want to jump in can't. We have to slow the ropes down. If we do and people still don't jump in? Then be disappointed. I think we've all been turning too fast--at least for some of my friends who I KNOW are good people who feel muzzled.

  5. I am very pissed off. I am just so tired of police shooting people, killing people, hurting people with no consequences. The badge does not provide carte blanche.

  6. I think you know I am a white female in her sixties...Until the police are held responsible for their actions I don't feel anything will change. I listened to NPR today and according to one of the guests as long as the police can hide behind "I fear for my life" nothing will change. I remember you post about your husband and I can imagine that happening to really almost anyone. As far as I am concerned the police are out of control...hyped up...psyched up...steroid up...and all with the blessings of the higher up...and as far as I think all the way up to the VERY top! I mean really...the buck has to stop somewhere....This is my voice...whatever you need!

  7. I'm pissed off, upset, and deeply saddened. I watched what I could of the video from last night in Minnesota and could not tolerate it enough to finish it. I am white and afraid of the police. I cannot imagine the level of fear if I was black. Something HAS to change. Bestowing a badge does NOT bestow the right to murder. I stand with you. We must all stand together and demand change. I go back and forth between anger and despair over what this country has become in terms of racism, hatred, intolerance, judgmentalism, misogyny, etc.

  8. I accept your invitation whole-heartedly and 'preciate you asking.
    And I love the double dutch jump rope analogy.
    I live in St. Augustine, FL. An incredible 72-year-old man named James Jackson lives here. He worked with Dr. King in the early 1960's when he was here in our town to help with civil rights. The day after Alton Sterling was murdered, Mr. Jackson was downtown with a sign saying, "Black Lives Do Matter." The next day, after Dallas, he was there in the same spot with a revised sign, "All Lives Do Matter"...
    If only, IF ONLY, we could all just realize this.

    1. Hey lulumarie. . . thanks for your comment. I do wish to be clear--I liked his first sign. I think the point of "Black Lives Matter" isn't saying that the other lives don't matter. It's identifying that there is a unique urgency to get our country acknowledge that things are happening to this group of individuals that just don't seem to happen to the "ALL" in the same frequency. Here's an analogy: Bill, Jim, and Sam all sit at the same table for meals. But for whatever reason, Bill gets a plate, Jim gets a plate, but Sam doesn't. If I began protesting with a sign that said, "SAM NEEDS FOOD" -- it wouldn't mean that Bill and Jim don't need food, too. The hope is that maybe we can even get Bill and JIm to agree that Sam needs food and fight with all of their might to help him get a portion, too. Or at least acknowledge that he isn't getting food and they are. Does that make sense?

      I hate what happened in Dallas. The man who did that was mentally ill, clearly, and does not represent the masses (or at least the black people I know.) But those officers weren't. In their minds, those men were suspects worthy of death before even asking questions. I find the "ALL LIVES MATTER" signs during times such as these insensitive.

      I am glad for Mr. Jackson's commitment to civil rights but I'm disappointed in that sign. Thanks for listening.

  9. #BlackLivesMatter

    My go-to expletive for those of my race who won't is "WAKE THE F*!k UP!"

  10. Thanks for your heartfelt response. I get it and I stand in solidarity, steadfast.

  11. Dear Grady Doc,

    I had read the older posts that you quote here and didn’t comment at the time. They made me immensely sad, because they made me realise that you have to raise your kids in the awareness of their skin color and make them aware that this skin color may prove a threat to them , whereas it shouldn’t mean more than hair color, or eye color, or foot size for all it matters.

    As a foreigner living far, far away, I cannot do much more that express my support and restate the obvious. Nobody should have to experience fear for the way nature chose to make them look.
    Let me offer you this video about a guy who overcame his fears. Maybe it will raise your hopes.

  12. Dear Grady Doc,
    I am so bewildered by the world in 2016. So much ugliness seems to be rearing its head. I guess it was always under the surface but it seems to have a louder voice now. It saddens me deeply.
    I'm not American (I come from New Zealand and currently live in Italy) but I am white and I am so very sorry that this is your reality. Believe me that my friends and FB network are having this conversation too but perhaps a little quieter, as I don't have any black American friends to integrate their conversation with mine. But please believe me, we are here all over the world, thinking and talking in solidarity that ALL people matter and that we need to stand up and shout that 'black people matter' until it is no longer necessary to do so. Please take heart that even if our words do not intersect, our thoughts and intentions most definitely do.
    Melissa - Standing in Solidarity from across the world.

  13. I 'm sorry to the incident , and I pray hopefully this problem does not happen again .

  14. Powerful and refreshing. Your blog is informative in that you eloquently humanize experiences.


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