I Can’t Live in Fear

My husband and I were enjoying a nice picnic at a park one day. It was a beautiful 75 degrees day, the sun was out and there were no clouds in the sky. It was summer time so the leaves on the trees were so green. I made the best Mac and cheese and honey barbecue chicken. The aroma of the food made me more hungry.  

After our picnic we decided to head back home. While we were in our car in the parking lot, a police car pulled up next to us. I glanced over at the police car. When the police car door began to open I quickly turned my head towards the windshield. My heart was beating rapidly, I couldn’t move, I was frozen in my fear. My husband noticed how nervous I was so he held my hand. When the cop finally got out of his car, I could tell by my peripheral vision that he was getting something out of his trunk. My thoughts were “what is he going to? We are not doing anything. We are just two black people in car trying to get home safely.” As my husband started the car, the cop turned to look at us he smiled and waved. I heard a sigh of relief from my husband. As we drove home I began to cry uncontrollably because I thought to myself, is that how the unarmed black victims felt right before they were shot? What thoughts were going their minds? 

I’m a very empathetic person, I feel for people. My heart is heavy that in 2016 as a black person in America when I see a cop I’m fearful for my life. Am I wrong for feeling this way? Am I wrong for wanting to be around my husband so one of us can tape the event? Am I wrong that if I need help I am hesitant on calling 9-1-1? Will the cop help me or kill me? I’ve never in my life been so afraid to walk outside my house, to go the grocery store, to go to work, or to even drive. 

I found myself still crying when I got home. The tears would not stop. I thought to myself: What’s wrong with me? When I’m a parent one day, what do I tell my children? Do I tell them that because there are black that the people that are supposed to protect and uphold the laws will kill them? Do I tell them that there are people in this nation that are blinded by the real issue that when one of us [black people] dies they investigate the background of the person who was shot to see if the kill was legitimate. The media focuses in on the person that was killed to see if they were a thug or a gangster. As if finding out there lifestyle justifies the murder. No kill is legitimate because every life is supposed to matter. The sad reality is that it doesn’t seem that way. Although I do not have children yet I have a lot kids that look up to me with my line of work. What do I tell them?  That’s when I decided I cannot live my life in fear. I cannot stay home and do nothing. Doing nothing is just as bad because it will only make matters worse. Remaining silent on this issue is not a solution. I will fight my fears. I will be strong. I will fight peacefully and pray for change.

From the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,  “Let us not seek to satisfy the thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle high plane of dignity and respect.”

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