I must smile underneath my mask. It’s a habit… at the grocery store, down the street, waiting at the post office… when I smile, white people don’t view me as a threat. I get to live another day.
But still, the mask can’t hide my fear that one day I won’t smile enough. A video of me being beaten on the street goes viral. I become a statistic and a hashtag. Strangers say my name and then forget it. And my mothers celebrate the anniversary of my death and the birthdays I never had.
@realDonaldTrump 23 May 2017: All civilized nations must join together to protect human life and the sacred right of our citizens to live in safety and in peace.
“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, [coronavirus] will disappear.” —President Donald Trump, News conference Feb 27 (the same day Washington, California and Oregon report the start of community transmission)
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more evidence that Black Americans have been hospitalized with COVID-19 at higher rates than other racial or ethnic groups… A sizable share of U.S. adults (44%) say the high rate Black coronavirus hospitalization has more to do with people’s choices and lifestyles.
Growing up, I never understood the saying “Starve a cold, feed a flu.” Shouldn’t you just eat normally and follow your doctor’s orders?
President Donald Trump says some Americans might wear face masks not as a way to prevent the spread of coronavirus but as a way to “signal disapproval of him.”
“Perhaps that’s what all human relationships boil down to: Would you save my life? or would you take it?”
— Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
In Herbert Kelman, Professor of Social Ethics, Emeritus, at Harvard University, defines humanness into two parts: “identity” (i.e., a perception of the person “as an individual, independent and distinguishable from others, capable of making choices”) and “community” (i.e., a perception of the person as “part of an interconnected network of individuals who care for each other”). When a target’s agency and community involvement are denied, they no longer elicit compassion or other moral responses, and may suffer violence as a result.
@realDonaldTrump 28 May 2020…These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!
This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.
I skipped class to attend a Black Lives Matter protest during my first year at Northwestern University. My professor deemed my absence inexcusable and refused to accept my homework.
According to a Pew Research Study, about four-in-ten Black and Asian adults say people have acted as if they were uncomfortable around them because of their race or ethnicity since the beginning of the outbreak, and similar shares say they worry that other people might be suspicious of them if they wear a mask when out in public.
@realDonaldTrump 20 June 2020 As I watch the Pandemic spread its ugly face all across the world, including the tremendous damage it has done to the USA, I become more and more angry at China. People can see it, and I can feel it!
“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
During the Rwandan genocide, Hutu officials referred to Tutsis as “cockroaches” that needed to be cleared out. During the Nazi era, Jews were called “rats.” The marginalized became pests to their oppressors.
A Black parent overheard a white student at Brown University telling his friend, “I’m not racist, but they should build a fence around campus. I’ve seen too many of them lately” @blackivystories
@realDonaldTrump 5 June 2020 We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!
“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
― James Baldwin
According to the Pew Research Center, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag has been used an average of 15,856 times daily from July 18, 2016 through May 1, 2018. On the other hand, the #AllLivesMatter has been used an average of 1,844 times daily.
“If indeed all lives mattered, we would not need to emphatically proclaim that ‘Black Lives Matter’… There are many more specific instances we would have to name before we can ethically and comfortably claim that All Lives Matter.”
―Angela Y. Davis, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle
When I first read Macbeth, one line caught my eye: “Lisa would never say anything that cruel—she has the milk of human kindness in her.” I’m allergic to dairy, but damn… The milk of human kindness… that sounds good.
I wish I lived in Trump’s America. I wish I could go outside and not think about the color of my skin for one day. But I can’t. I’m constantly reminded that this country was not made for me, even though my people made this country.
I’m always going to be a Black student, a black singer, a black writer. I’m proud of my heritage, but I don’t want it to define or confine me. I don’t want the color of my skin to make my aspirations seem surprising or become marginalized.
If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
— Audre Lorde
@realDonaldTrump 12 June 2020 We had previously scheduled our #MAGA Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for June 19th – a big deal.
@BarackObama 19 June 2020 Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory, or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible––and there is still so much work to do.
Diversity refers to the traits and characteristics that make people unique. Inclusion refers to the behaviors and social norms that ensure people feel welcome. Equity refers to the fair and respectful treatment of all people. Lastly, justice is a proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes for all. While diversity is a necessary first step, the ultimate goal is inclusion, equity, and justice for marginalized groups
Donald Trump has never tweeted the names Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, or Elijah McClain
@realDonaldTrump 25 June 2020 Black Lives Matter leader states, “If U.S. doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it”. This is Treason, Sedition, Insurrection!
@realDonaldTrump 17 April 2020
LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!
In 2017, I was writing in a coffee shop, and a man commented on a sticker on my laptop. “‘Careful or you will end up in my novel?’”
I was mid-sentence and caught off-guard. “Ah, yeah.. I’m a writer” And then the normal conversation follows:
Where do you go to school?
What do you like to read?
What do you write about?
And I told him about my essay collection about names and identity
“Well how do you define yourself?” he asked.
“Ha, that’s a short question that requires a long answer, but I guess a Black woman”
“But I don’t understand… why you would want to call yourself Black. Why not just call yourself a human?”
@realDonaldTrump 2 June 2020 My Admin has done more for the Black Community than any President since Abraham Lincoln.
English poet Alexander Pope, created the proverb: “To err is human” in the poem An Essay on Criticism, Part II from 1711.
“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn… your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless […] — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.” —Frederick Douglass, The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro (1852)
The latter half of Alexander Pope’s proverb reminds us: “to forgive is divine” If forgiving human err is divine, forgetting is blasphemous
Ways You Can Help:
To my Semicolon Bookstore Campaign— supporting Black woman-owned businesses and Chicago youth and literacy.
If you participate in a local protest, make sure to take the following precautions and acknowledge city curfews— if they apply.
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