Worn but not Broken

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.”

(J. Lennon and P. McCartney)

I Am Tired. Tired of crying. Tired of being afraid. Tired of a President who calls on White supremacists to “stand by”. Tired for knowing that “justice” means nothing in the absence of repercussions for the murders of my brothers and sisters. Tired for knowing the State can offer a settlement—they will bring money to the family of a woman who was shot and killed in her sleep—but they WILL NOT bring charges to the officers responsible for killing her. Tired of explaining to my non-Black peers, that mourning Black death does not mean that you support Black lives. 

Hardly a day goes by on social media, the news or any platform, without seeing Black death. And not just death, murder. The discrepancies between how Black and non-Black people are treated when these terrible situations arise remain equally troubling. Racism and prejudice persist in the soul of our society, a society built off the backs of people who were deemed to be ‘less than’, solely due to the color of their skin. And systemic forms of oppression in our legal, educational, and healthcare systems continue to proliferate, magnifying these issues to the point where they consume our nation like a cancer, trapping us in an arena built on hate. 

It all begs the question in my tired soul. What can we do about it? What is there to do about it? Can we even do anything about it?

These fraught days I’ve been reading, almost like a prayer, Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

I’m undone every time. In part because I feel broken, powerless and worn down, because all I see are Black people being shot, cut, and killed in hate. Then I remember her poem—STILL I RISE. In the midst of the sorrow and in spite of it, there can still be hope. Joy too. As our country crawls closer to an election and trembles with pandemic, protests…racial tensions increasing, education systems failing, wildfires consuming and more—there is still Hope.

Change is coming. At yet another pivotal point in history we must stand back up, no matter how many times we fall, no matter how many Proud Boys try to kill us. Keep having those hard conversations, keep fighting back, keep refusing to be silenced, keep on saying their names, take advantage of the moment—and continue to rise.