I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay home, wrap my figurative arms around my not so little and not at all babies and stay safe. 

But, she wanted to go with or without me. The one who has been defiant since she could walk, defiant since she could talk. 

She missed her opportunity in 2016. She was disappointed, but I was glad. I had given her permission, but my heart was not in it. My silent prayers were answered. Misguided planning thwarted their plans. 

For she was ready. She’s a researcher. She had her bandana then, face mask now. Her bandana was soaked in milk then. She had a concoction to lessen the effects of tear gas now. She had carefully crafted signs then. Hastily made ones now. She had ventured out with her woke white friend then. She had me and her sister now. 

We got there late. We missed the majority of the organized portion of the march. But the throng of people remained. 

Normally, most would have purpose for the rest of their day. Responsibilities at home. Preparation to make for the next day. But these are not normal times. Yet, what has been normalized is what has gotten us here. 

Finally, we are tired enough. We are fed up. We demand change. We from every walk of life. Every ethnicity. Every creed. Those who were able bodied to march, chant, protest, live. We were there. 

Say his name, George Floyd. Say her name, Breonna Taylor. Say our name because we could be next. Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter. 

We are mad and many of us are trapped. Trapped in a system of greed touting itself as democracy. 

We have the rich, and then there’s the rest of us. 

The voices of so many of our beloved are missing. Our favorite performers, actors, comedians. They were just telling us to stay home and flatten the curve. Where are their voices now?

I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay home. But there is no home to shield my Black body from harm by those who deem it the embodiment of evil, shiftlessness, unworthy, and dangerous.

But, this America is our home. We built it. We sustain it. We nourish it. We are taking it back. 

We don’t need your permission. We don’t want your pity. We will have justice. Or there will be no peace. 

Post script

Approximately an hour after we left uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, the police surrounded peaceful protesters, threw tear gas, and shot rubber bullet at them. Many were forced to seek refuge in parking garages and many fled for their lives. #ThisisAmerica