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Black History Month Day 2


25th May 2020, George Floyd is murdered. There’s not much to say in terms of teaching here. You know what happened. For 8 mins and 46 seconds, we watched a Black man die, as we had previously seen so many others in grainy body cam footage or shaky dash cams or portrait shot videos. He went silent, the protests began. 

While his murderer awaits improbable consequences, the consequences of witnessing another black body discarded in the street felt too real to me. There were mornings where I lay in bed for hours, ravaged. More names, more bodies, more lists of things it is unsafe to do while being black. Where my nightmares were racked with that footage on a loop, his anguished shouts, the terror he must have felt as he saw his life fading. There were moments where I questioned whether I would bring black babies into a world that hates them, that is designed for them to struggle, suffer and fail. 

Amidst the “all lives matter” chatter and those desperate to somehow blame this man for his own death, people questioned why this hurts the rest of us, we’re not American? I think you could only ask a question like that if you have never had to experience hatred. If you have never been told by people and by the systems of society, by history, science, education, healthcare, economy and religion - that your life matters less. That you do not deserve happiness, safety, freedom or life. 

There was a turning point, a moment, where I knew that I had to pick myself up, that this couldn’t consume me. This black skin has always been my greatest blessing, and I will wage war like the savage you condemn us to be to prove worthy of it. And still, this bitterness fills me - because I don’t get a choice. I don’t get to just do what I want. In my own way, in whatever I do, I have to dedicate my life to this. We don’t get to just be. I have to fight this, no matter what path I choose. So if we are wrought with rage and fatigued from fighting, hasn’t this system already won?

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