To the racists, the bigots, the church burners,
And those who choose to sit silently, while America turns back the clock:
I am sick & I am tired. Tell me what you gain by burning churches. Tell me what hatred earns you. Is it worth it? What are you fighting for? Who are you fighting? Do the cries of black lives matter fall on deaf ears? Are you blind to the protests simply asking for equality? Do you not see the anger and sadness we feel when “justice” lays dead on a sidewalk begging to breathe? When a child is gunned down for existing what does that make you feel? Can you SEE me? Can you HEAR me? Does it matter? Do I matter? Does my faith matter? Do the modern martyrs whose lives have been lost to unnecessary violence, do they matter?
How much longer? How many more? Should I sign my will? Plan my funeral? Is it only a matter of time? How much violence is enough? How long until any violence too much? When is one death too many?
I can’t write about education, or prison reform, or immigration, or poverty. Mostly because I can’t think about them. How am I supposed to think about quality of life when people of color are worried about living at all? We can’t ask for justice anymore. We are demanding it. But what if that isn’t enough? Then what? I’m not sure. Racism. Privilege. Fragility. If these words offend you, you’re part of the problem.
I know who is burning black churches. They’re the same people cheering on the Charleston shooter. They’re the same voices calling for the flag to stay up and for blacks to go back where they came from. The same voices that sit by saying nothing, cosigning on the hatred.
If you were trying to get our attention, congratulations, you have it. I would love to hear what you think. I would love to know what I did that caused such hatred to hide itself in your heart. If I have hurt you, I would love to know how or why so that I may right my wrongs and apologize for my transgressions. But I cannot right (re: white) my skin, and I will not apologize for fighting for justice.
My skin is not a weapon. My voice is not a threat.
Please understand, that no matter what comes our way we are ready. The blood of the slaves who built this nation runs through me. The fight of the activists who fought for my freedoms 50 years ago is inside me. 400 years of oppression has brought us to this moment. And we are tired. But we are not so tired that we will quit. We are weary, but not so weary that we will settle for subjugation. Some days we feel defeated, but not so defeated that we will succumb to the fear. And while we may some days be discouraged, we are not so discouraged that we stop standing up for what we believe in, no matter the cost.
You may burn our churches. That’s okay, the “church” is simply a building. You may fly whatever flag you choose. I’ll be here fighting until there are no more deaths and no more disparities. Until equal means equal. Until liberty and justice for all means liberty and justice for all regardless of race, class, gender, or sexuality.
Perhaps you are also sick and tired. Maybe it’s time for us to sit together and find some common ground. We are all people. We all inherited this earth together. We all have the same right to live here peacefully. We all have the right to live here at all.
With love and an olive branch,
Yours in activism,
Share this letter with everyone you know. Let me know what you would add.