Living in a Rioting City

(Written this morning at 12am ish)

I’ve found myself crying a lot in the past few days. In fact, tears are why I’m writing this. I’m lying in bed, trying to sleep, and the tears won’t stop. The world is big right now. And I’m scared. 

I’m scared because I have friends who are police officers. Good men who would NEVER judge someone based on their skin. 

I’m scared because I live in a city that is rioting. 

I’m scared because we live in a country that is so angry. 

I’m scared because so many of my relatives are black and being black is dangerous. 

I’m scared because no matter how hard I have always fought for equality, there is none. Not just for people of different colors, but for different genders and sexual orientation and disabilities. 

We went from zero to apocalypse in a day. We have had the threat of WW3, a deadly virus, complete disruption of our lives, and now violent and deadly rioting. At first, I felt inconvenienced. Yes, I felt it. We all felt it. Did I act like a bitch about it all? Hell no. I followed the mandates set forth by the public health department in my state and I adapted to my new life. I taught my classes from home and dealt with the complete mental exhaustion. Then I felt the need to get prepared. Like something was coming. So I went about doing just that. Now? Now I’m scared. 

I am awake. I’ve been in bed for three hours and I’m awake because every siren feels more ominous. Every siren is a reminder that a friend on standby with a nearby police department may be called to the riot. Every siren reminds me that the rioting is moving out of downtown, slowly making its way east… I live east. I have about five miles between my family and the violence and, honestly, that’s terrifying. Do I believe we’ll be hurt? Not really. The logical part of me says five miles is actually a lot and that it will never get that far. The part of me that feels as though I would do anything to protect my family is scared and doesn’t want to find out how effective I would be. 

I was raised by parents who taught me that color wasn’t something that defined a person. That all people were to be valued and to avoid individuals based on their actions, not how they looked. To assess based on spirit, not color. Not sexual orientation. Not disabilities. Not gender. I had hope that the world would evolve. I still have hope. What the hell people?! This is 2020. Haven’t we come far enough to recognize that, at a cellular level, we’re all just human? 

The officers involved in unjustified police killings should be arrested. All the time. That includes those that do the killing and those that stand by and watch. If I killed someone, I’d be arrested. If I stood by and watched while my friend killed someone, I’d be arrested. The same should be true for someone who carries a badge and a gun. The officer on camera was arrested. Every single murder takes investigation to collect evidence to ensure a prosecution will stick under the law. The fact that the arrest took place so quickly impressed me. Now, hopefully, they will also arrest those officers that stood by and watched as George Floyd was murdered. BUT it is unjust to blame every other police officer in America for what happened. Without laws, and those who enforce them, senseless violence like that which happened to Mr. Floyd will become more and more common. We do not honor Mr. Floyd by showing the same discrimination he faced to those around us. 

I’m scared, but tomorrow I will get up and keep fighting for equality. I will vote my conscious to ensure that the people shaping laws are acting in the best interest of ALL people, not just those that suit them. I’ll speak up when I see injustice, as I have done since I was young. And I’ll feel the fear everyday until this is resolved. I doubt it will be in my lifetime, but I hope I can help make this a better place for my son, my youngest niece, and my baby nephew. Until then, I will keep fighting.