It’s hard out here y’all. The world we knew ten years ago no longer exists. It’s not like there was ever a good time in America for people of color , but before the current administration in D.C., at least things were slightly better. As I write this, we are headed into the fifth anniversary of Eric Garner’s death. Today, the Justice Department has declined to pursue convictions against the officers involved in the fatal encounter between Garner and police. Frankly, it’s nothing new. The lack of accountability for killing black people makes me feel numb. Why? Because it’s not the first time or the last time this will happen. My numbness comes from a lifetime of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion from being black in America.
Sick And Tired Of Being Sick And Tired
Our precious commonwealth of Virginia is no better. Before the fallout over the racist stupidity of Ralph Northam, white supremicists decided that Charlottesville was the perfect gathering spot for their anti-Black rally. AND we have monuments and memorials to Confederate generals all over, more than any other state. Virginia is still known as a stronghold of the pre-Civil War South. The racist history is long and deep.
However, it’s bubbled up to the surface with a vengeance and this new status quo makes me sick. I can’t walk down the street without seeing a MAGA hat. My consciousness ticks up a level every time. Imagine knowing someone hates your existence just on sight, without knowing a thing about you but your appearance. It makes me fearful for my four-year-old nephew, knowing that the risks of what happened in the Netflix series “When They See Us” can happen to him. It makes me want to scream on a daily basis. It makes me angry. It makes me not want to get out of bed in the morning because it’s too hard to do so as a Black woman. Let alone a Black woman who is trying to elevate herself, love her family, love Jesus, make the world better and be a progressive all at the same time. Just typing that sentence made me feel some type of way.
It’s Hard, But We Do It Anyway
Times like these make me ever-vigilant. It makes me want to use whatever platform I have to change the way things are now. This conviction makes me strong. It makes me feel proud to work for a progressive organization like Progress Virginia. It fuels my creativity, my hustle, and my will to learn. I know I’m blessed to have a life that affords me to be a progressive. I know that my ancestors fought and died for me to have just the basics of what it takes to have a life in America. I also know that I’ll let them down if I don’t give advancing progress and eradicating racism everything I’ve got–to make this country better for my future generations. That doesn’t mean this work isn’t hard.
It’s extremely hard to take the high road. Michelle Obama told us, “When they go low, we go high.” What she didn’t tell us was how hard it would be to do so. Not stooping to the racists’ level is one of the hardest things we face as progressives. It emboldens our moral superiority, but to be superior, we must act superior. We must call out bigotry and hatred when we see it. We must stand up for women, children, the elderly, people of color, the LGBTQ community and everyone else who is victimized by hatred. When we have the chance to do stand up for justice, we must do it.
Over The Horizon
The struggle is real y’all. When we see injustice, we MUST speak up. We have to deal with ALL of these racists, sexists, and bigots, especially the ones who are duly elected (like the ones in Virginia). I’m calling on all Virginians to really step up in 2019. It’s our time now. If February pissed you off, I’m talking directly to you. It’s time to use the only avenue available to you to get rid of these jerks. I’m talking specifically about voting them out of office.
Voting is the only tool we have to make sure our voice is heard. Why do you think conservatives fought so hard to silence us? Summer is coming to an end and we are on the verge of a new election this November. It’s our chance to finally have a progressive majority in the General Assembly for the first time in a long time. We’re not just out for a legislative majority, though. We want the racists GONE. Time is up for the politicians who block legislation that will lift up people and communities of color. This strategy includes supporting progressives. When we see our people out there shining, we need to give them a boost. Progress Virginia’s upcoming Progressive Voters Guide is a good place to start! (<– Stay tuned for an upcoming preview!)
Are you ready for a new Virginia? If so, commit to vote in the November 2019 election here.