My heart is so heavy right now. A grand jury indictment should be so easy to make. When nine out of twelve jurors need to say that yes, there is probable cause of criminal activity, and when nine out of twelve jurors are white and there is no indictment, my heart is heavy. I’m having trouble putting in to words the feelings I have right now, the sense of helplessness; the fear for my neighbors and friends; the struggle of living and working in systems that are unjust and painfully broken; the inability to turn away and pretend that our towns, our cities, our nation is okay.
We are not okay.
This weekend our nation clamored to see “Mockingjay Part One.” We love the Hunger Games franchise– after all, everyone loves a good uprising story… but only when the media shows the subjugation of white people in dystopian Panem. Everyone likes a white uprising. Fight the power! Especially when someone like Jennifer Lawrence is the face of revolution. I mean damn, why not? I love it. But our own subjugated country? Our own Capitol oppressing our districts? Tear gas in Ferguson? The inability of a 75% white jury to indict a white cop? A white prosecutor overloading the grand jury with information?
The national guard reported to Ferguson, Missouri faster than they responded to New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
America, my heart is heavy.
Our country, our systems, our government — we are broken. We are all, in our own ways, traumatized broken souls, fighting fire with fire. Righteously angry, scared, and grieving. I live in the gentrified section of my neighborhood; around the corner are the public housing projects. We are a broken and pillared corner of a broken and pillared city in the middle of the United States. Children recite the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning at school, not necessarily knowing what the words say, not realizing that “liberty and justice for all” is a lie, especially if they are Latin@ or Black.
I am, also, still, a patriot. I love my country even when I hate my country and I love my country even when I am terrified of my country. So help us God.
“Atticus.” said Jem bleakly.
He turned in the doorway. “What, son?”
“How could they do it, how could they?”
“I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it seems that only children weep. Good night.”
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird