“...Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.” Elie Wiesel.
If you follow me on social media, then you know I’ve been pretty vocal about my experiences on race in America the last few years. I even did a blog post about it entitled "I Don't Talk About it, I Live It." Click This Link to Read It.
Last week, I expressed my anger, hurt, and sadness for the police brutality that had taken place in Minnesota and Louisiana. Do you want to know what happened next?.....
One of my law enforcement: “friends” deleted me from their friend list.
At first I was a bit bothered. Then I thought about it. If you look back at any of my previous posts NO WHERE did I mention anything about being anti-police. The thing is, if you are pro-black, people think you are anti-police. Which is not the case in my instance. I know some people feel this way, but I can only speak for myself.
Then I thought, this person isn’t really a friend at all.
They merely chose to get mad about something I posted on FACEBOOK.
Friends are supposed to be people that you can speak freely with. Even if they don’t agree with you, you would hope that they would be able to empathize. I know I personally am that way with my friends.
Often people get upset when I share my experiences about being a black woman in America. What other perspective would I have? I am indeed,
A. Black. Woman. Living. In. America.
In addition to being black, i’m also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. You often refer to us as “Mormons.” I don’t speak about my faith often. (There is a point to all of this stay with me.)
Many of my friends, online (and in real life,) have expressed to me privately, and publicly how my words on race have affected them. They have told me that me sharing my story, has helped them see my reality.
You see, that is my intention.
When I write. I write what I feel. I speak boldly, and am unapologetic in my feelings.
To reference the musical Hamilton:
“History has its eyes on you. You have no control of who lives, who dies, who tells your story.”
I refuse to let anyone else tell my story. I refuse to let history re write a fictional account of what happened. I don’t expect you to always agree with what I have say. I do expect you to be able to listen without blowing your top.
To further help illustrate, I’m going speak to my Latter day Saint friends. (You non-LDS friends can keep reading along as well)
King Benjamin in The Book of Mormon taught that we are to “Mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.”
That doesn’t mean that we get to pick and chose who we will mourn and comfort. We are to comfort ALL THOSE THAT STAND IN NEED OF COMFORT AND MOURN WITH THOSE THAT MOURN.
This isn’t meant to be a political post about I’m right and you’re wrong. Its meant to get you to think.
Some of you are offended that I say #BlackLivesMatter I’m pissed as hell that I have to even say or think that at all. In fact before we go even further. Let’s put a little more Jesus in it.
I saw this post circulating on social media, and I think it articulates better what I want to convey. It is written by Chris Baker, PhD student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
“I saw yet another #AllLivesMatter derailment this morning, [online] and it made me want to scream. Or, rather, it made me want to scream this:
When in the Beatitudes, Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor,” you don’t shout “Everyone’s blessed!” When Jesus says, “Blessed are the hungry,” you don’t shout, “Everyone’s blessed!” When Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn,” you don’t shout “Everyone’s blessed!”
You don’t, I hope, because you understand that Jesus declares these people blessed precisely because they never have been. Their society never blessed them. The proverbial powers that be never blessed them. Their neighbors never blessed them. No one blessed them. No one considered them blessed, worthy of blessing. Their lives, in other words, never mattered.
I hope too, that you understand what happens next in the Gospel of Luke. The blessings are followed by curses. Woe to the rich, who have enriched themselves at the expense of the poor. Woe to the full, who have engorged themselves at the expense of the hungry. Woe to those who are laughing now in the face of the grief and misery of others.
Jesus has flipped the script.
Out is in. In is out. Down is up. Up is down. #BlackLivesMatter precisely because they haven’t, and in your derailment they still don’t. Biblically and theologically speaking,
thats some dangerous ground you’re occupying.”
I hope the above narrative clears it up for you a bit.
I’m not anti-police.
I’m not for violence either.
So when you see me post #BlackLivesMatter on social media and your husband, dad, brother, sister, uncle, WHOMEVER is in law enforcement that DOES NOT mean that I HATE YOU AND WANT THEM/YOU TO DIE!
THAT IS NOT WHAT ANY OF THIS MEANS!
How do you explain to your child why you are paralyzed, weeping in fetal position on your bedroom floor?
How do you explain to your child the incessant coughing she heard on the other side of the door was you choking on your tears, and saliva?
How do you explain to your son how panic-stricken you are that he may not grow up to have a family of his own?
Simply because someone has a problem with the melanin in their skin?
I don’t know, but if you know please fill me in. You see these are genuine concerns of mine.
You see, we don’t value human life. The act of taking a human life has been the currency of power since the dawn of time.
We need to change that currency.
As a business owner, I’ve also been criticized for being so vocal about my feelings on this subject.
I feel it is our duty as artists, and creatives to tell this narrative.
Poignant, and powerful icon Nina Simone, sums this up perfectly.
We may not LIKE the narrative. Some people may choose to be offended.
My fellow friend and creative Latanya, of Sprinkles and Booze says:
Some photographer’s main goal is for you to book them. Although I would LOVE for you to book me, my main goal is to tell you a story.
In fact, my responsibility is to tell you a story. I want my images to make you feel something you have never felt. To evoke emotion. I want you to see a side you’ve never seen before.
That is the role of an artist.