“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” –Toni Morrison
Language has always been a comfort to me. Words are my thoughts animated as an indication of life. Wordplay is the active stretching of mental muscle. An exercise in connectivity between minds.
But right now, finding words that capture the grieving, the fear, and the anger that’s inspired by the ongoing news cycle of tragedy in motion since this country was founded…
I’ve had a hard time communicating what it feels like knowing my mother, a Black woman, is a target because she is a vessel that brings more Black children into this world. My brothers have been targets since the day they were born. My father, in his deep cocoa skin—will be seen first for his Blackness—never his softness and tender love for his children, or for the chip in his tooth that makes his smile that much more beautiful when you’re close enough to hold him.
The sleep that it steals from mothers, daughters, sisters, and lovers every night will never fully be understood by those who haven’t experience it. (There aren’t enough words to describe the sleep that this deep knowing has stolen from me.)
As I struggle to write this against the ache in my chest, I want to say to whoever stops to read it, please: Write if you write, paint if you paint, speak if you speak, but do not fall victim to complacency and the belief that this is far beyond you. Complacency is a far more dangerous attitude than outrage, and we’ve got centuries of anger to weaponize against a system of injustice that not only doesn’t give a fuck about us but despises our right to exist.
Black people understand the power of transforming trauma into a tool. The protesting, the rioting, the crying out in our communities, is the most blatant sign of how deeply those tools are needed.
You are desperately needed in spite of everything this country would do to imply otherwise.