“Adversity is like a strong wind. I don’t mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be.” ― Arthur Golden
This quote found its way to me through an email newsletter from writer GG Renee.
I read it over and over again for nearly 20 minutes.
Like much of America I watched last night as a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
I watched as many of my friends took to social media to vent their anger while others virtually shrugged their shoulders and simply said evidence doesn’t lie.
But America does lie.
America tells black people that our lives don’t matter, that our deaths don’t even deserve a trial. As Birmingham columnist John Archibald wrote:
When those families look at Ferguson justice, they see anything but due process. They wonder how a majority white grand jury could look at the same evidence they’ve seen on TV and not find enough evidence to at least send it to trial. After all, everybody knows a prosecutor can indict a tuna sandwich if he wanted to.
Last night a poem by Langston Hughes came to mind:
I am so tired of waiting,
For the world to become good
And beautiful and kind?
I am tired.
I’m tired of a rowdy few turning peaceful protests into riots. I’m tired of self-righteous racists turning the riots into an excuse to treat black people like animals.
I’m tired of politicians pulling black-on-black crime statistics out of their back pocket whenever asked to address police brutality and racial profiling.
As Kansas City Star columnist Jenee Osterheldt writes:
Yes, 93 percent of blacks are killed by other blacks. The Justice Department says that nearly 84 percent of whites are killed by whites. That doesn’t change the fact that we have a race problem in America. It doesn’t erase the way white fear has infected communities, not just cops.
And he will continue to do this work even if it means waking up to an email inbox littered with racial slurs from angry, insensitive, closed-minded readers (who, ironically, say racism doesn’t exist).
I think about the power of words and how books changed my life, possibly saved it. Yes, I grew up in neighborhoods some folks are afraid to drive through even in the day time. But when I think of my old neighborhoods I don’t think of gang violence or any other type of crime. I think of the libraries that were my home away from home. I think of the books that dared me to dream and showed me the world was bigger than my block.
Today the schools in Ferguson are closed but the Ferguson Public Library is open. A Facebook friend urged folks to donate to the Ferguson Library. Library staff has consistently made themselves available to the community even when every other place closed its doors. The library has even created makeshift classrooms where teachers could continue their lessons.
This small gesture will do nothing for the Brown family. It will not cool the literal and figurative fires that burn in Ferguson this morning. But I pray that a book will give at least one black boy or one black girl in Ferguson the hope they need to carry on another day and I pray the words they read will remind them that their lives do matter.
It’s that time of year again when my close family and friends ask me what I want for Christmas and that time of year when I annoy them all by answering “December 26.”
Those who know me best know I’m not a huge fan of Christmas — a holiday that I believe drives individuals into debt and families into arguments — but I digress. I won’t bore you with my Bah! Humbug! routine.
Each year I appease my loved ones who are patient enough to actually want to buy gifts for a Scrooge like me by writing a blog post that I typically call the Writeous Babe Wish List. My hope is that it will give my family and friends some guidance on how to shop for me and give my readers some ideas of how to shop for the writeous babes in their lives.
Even though I’m 33 years old one of the women I admire most in life isn’t old enough to drink. Eighteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson is the young woman behind Rookie Mag, an online magazine for teen girls. Each year, she publishes in book form a collection of the website’s best pieces from the past 12 months. She calls the collection the Rookie Yearbook. Because I’m still a girl at heart, I would like Santa to bring me all three editions.
In 2015 I’m going to attempt to run 1200 miles. This means 100 miles a month. This also means I’ll be giving Fleet Feet half my paycheck as I replace running shoes and gear throughout the year. Help a sister out with some Fleet Feet gift cards.
And speaking of gift cards, I plan to revamp my wardrobe in 2015, too. Support the cause with gift cards from The Limited so I can snag some Olivia Pope inspired couture and gift certificates from ModCloth so I can get some fabulous frocks like the one pictured above.