Land of the Free?

“Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.”

Kofi Annan

I have debated heavily with myself…

as to whether or not I should write about this sensitive yet very important topic.

Not because I am blind to what is taking place, or scared. I often wonder if I am credible enough to write about this. I would never want anything I say about this topic to be misconstrued. I would never want to appear as uneducated or ignorant. I would never want to offend anyone who is greatly impacted by the disgusting hate crimes displayed in our country.

As I watch what is taking place, more recently with the MURDERS of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, I can no longer remain silent. And I hope that my voice makes a positive impact in a way that it educates the ignorant and supports the oppressed. To the Black community: I hope you read this and know that not only do you have an ally in me but a friend and a confidant as well. To the people of color who are not Black and to the White community: I hope when you read this, you feel so uncomfortable that you have no choice but to no longer ignore what has been taking place and decide to stand up and support those who need us.

I am a Hispanic woman, Puerto Rican specifically.

I am in an interracial relationship with a Black man. We are soon to be married next year. My soon to be step daughter is a young Black woman growing up and witnessing this oppression. My nephews who are half Black will be faced with the harsh realization of what it means to be Black in this country. My future child will also be a target. And although African roots run deeply in my heritage, I refuse to overlook the fact that because my skin is considerably fair, I do hold privilege in America.

You see, as a Hispanic woman, I have encountered racism to a small extent. Racial slurs and stereotypes have been thrown at me like daggers. And yes, it is hurtful. But I have NEVER been physically assaulted without a just cause. I have NEVER been randomly pulled over by law enforcement just because I look ‘suspicious.’ I have NEVER had to fear that my life would be taken because of the color of my skin. And THESE reasons is why I refuse to be blind to my privilege in America. Because of THIS, I will use my privilege to advocate and stand up for the Black community.

I have seen the hashtags #AllLivesMatter splattered on social media like sloppy ink blots. I can assume the people posting it have no malicious intent (although, I do have to be honest- I can assume, but cannot confirm). I’ve witnessed the debates as to why this statement is defended. How one race is not superior to the others. How all lives should matter. Yes…it should matter but it does not.

I have witnessed the hurtful and ignorant comments. The judgements placed on the lootings and protests that have been occurring. I have witnessed the silence. The hesitation to speak up. Speak out. To support our Black people. I am not here to pass judgement on you. Only you know why you are choosing to respond in the way that you do. Maybe your support is silent and through prayer. And that’s okay too. But if the current state of our country…the racial divide, the tension, the pain, the anger, all of it…if this does not shake and rattle the very core of your being, you have some serious digging and self reflection to do.

Let me put this into perspective for you…

For centuries, Black people have endured various forms of slavery. They have endured violence. They have endured the pain of loved ones taken mercilessly away by the hands of White supremacists. Their rights are constantly stripped away in some form. And you may think this went away once segregation did, but it has not. Even when the Black people were declared ‘free,’ they are still being passed for jobs they are more deserving of. They are still misjudged by their appearance. They are still wrongfully accused for crimes they did not commit. And they are DYING on OUR streets in OUR country by the hands of those who are supposed to be protecting the people of this country. They do not have the privilege of innocent until proven guilty. And to add insult to injury, despite many efforts to remain quiet, compliant, and peaceful, once they can no longer do this because of the complete disregard this country continues to show towards these people, they are labeled as thugs, a danger to this society. So let me ask you this, is it really All Lives Matter? Are Black lives included in this?! I would really like to know.

Black Lives Matter is a movement. It’s a stand that says, “I am here for my Black brothers and sisters. I see your pain. Your struggles. The adversity. The injustice. And IT IS NOT OKAY. Change has to happen.” This movement does not take away from the lives of the other races. It is an acknowledgement that Black people have always been and continue to be at a major disadvantage than the rest of us. It’s acknowledging that the Black community needs our support. They should no longer carry this burden alone. THIS IS OUR BURDEN. They are valuable to our country. They need air to breathe. They bleed the same. The color of their skin should not be considered a crime in a country that claims Land of the Free. We must help to ensure that the Black race are given the proper love, respect, rights and LIFE that they deserve. This is a fight for humanity.

Until Black lives matter, all lives do not matter. Actions have to show that they are inclusive in this. And in the year 2020, it is obvious that they are not. We have failed them as a country. So I’m sorry, you cannot convince me otherwise. It is blatantly and disgustingly obvious.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Beautiful Black people:

Who have contributed immensely to build this country on your very own backs, who have fought in our wars, who have evolved and transformed our culture, one of the most resilient groups of people I have ever laid my eyes on- I see you. I hear you. I value and respect you. I love you all so much. You have my full support. And I am so so sorry that you were never given a fair chance in excelling in this country. You have to work twice as hard just to receive the same chances as others. You are so powerful that a country is so adamant about eliminating your very existence. That speaks volumes. We’re way overdue for a change. This has to stop. Let’s all be a part of that change. The solution and not the problem.

Praying for America. Be safe and walk with love, purpose, dignity, and with your head held high.

With sadness in my heart,

A New Tomorrow: Life After Quarantine.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

Henry Ford

I’ve honestly lost track of the days…

At this point, I’m not sure how many weeks I’ve been quarantined. The days and hours seem to run together as I act like a mad scientist in my lab channeling different creative outlets to keep myself sane. Overall, I’ve done quite well. But it does feel strange, as this is starting to feel like the new norm. So then it has me thinking, “What will life be like after we are released from our ‘prison’ sentences?”

Tomorrow is only a day away…

I believe there has been a certain shift in the universe. The Earth seems to be healing. Broken homes are mending as well. We are addressing inner conflicts and demons, as we have no other choice due to the forced circumstances of isolation. We all have been given opportunities to turn lemons into lemonade. These past couple of months have really displayed the ability to embrace the unknown; keeping the faith for better days to come. Strangers are comforting each other and working together. Parents are starting to manage homeschooling their children effectively, while adjusting to working remotely. We are choosing video chats over texts. Conversations with substance over small talk. Love over hate.

As a collective, we have become more mindful of the things we have taken for granted in the past. The chill of the ocean when you first dip your toes into the water. The warmth of the sun as you stroll along on crowded streets. The bliss of physically embracing our loved ones. The freedom to go any place our hearts desire, without worrying about the safety of our health. The majority of us have taken so many of these moments for granted. And in a way, this pandemic has snapped us back to reality. Time is borrowed and never guaranteed. So is this good or bad?

A fresh perspective…

Many lives have been lost. Many businesses have been forced to close down and lay off their workers. Many people have been isolated and continue to struggle with immense feelings of loneliness. The air of uncertainty is ever so present. However, somehow, we have adapted to our circumstances. Humans are made to adapt and overcome. We learn from our adversities and heartaches. And I think nothing proves these statements more than what we have witnessed on a societal level as we try to combat the coronavirus. Along with the air of uncertainty, has come a wave of unity.

I cannot predict the future…

I’m not sure how life will be after quarantine. But I can tell you what I hope for…

I hope we all choose to hold our loved ones a little bit longer and tighter. I hope we continue to remain connected with those loved ones, even if it’s not in person. I can’t wait to see my family and friends again.

I hope households continue to have family dinners together. To have real conversations and truly listen and acknowledge one another. My pastor was sharing the word during one of the services this past Sunday, and expressed how amazing it felt to have dinner with his family. Something that hasn’t been done in years. I mean, truly, that is beautiful.

I hope we never allow the busyness of our lives to interrupt the nurturing of our relationships and the intentional connections to be made, inside and outside of our homes. I may be biased but quality time is a universal love language. It does the soul good.

May we never take waking up each day for granted. Or having the ability to breathe deep in our healthy lungs. A new day is a blessing within itself and I express gratitude for it each day. For this, we are blessed beyond measure.

May we continue to appreciate Mother Earth and marvel at all the beauty she continues to offer. I’m sure a lot of us have had the time to smell the roses, literally. My outside walks have literally saved me during this whole ordeal. I’ve never paid attention to the details of the trees, grass, and sky before. This Earth is vibrant in so many ways. Be present.

I hope we continue to be resourceful, even when not faced with adversity. I’ve noticed people growing their own plants, fruits, and vegetables. People have been doing many DIY projects around their homes. People have even made their own hand sanitizer with aloe vera plants and rubbing alcohol. How amazing is that?

May we continue to utilize rest and relaxation above all else. Many of us have forgotten what it feels like to simply slow down. Many of us have forgotten what it means to pour love and positivity into ourselves. This quarantine has been such an eye opener for me in this particular area of my life. It’s okay to stop worrying about all I have to do and check in with myself. It’s okay to put myself first before others. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

I hope we all continue to practice cleanliness and preventative measures… cause like, come on…we should’ve all been practicing this way before the pandemic!

But most importantly, I hope we all continue to practice compassion and keep the concept of love on the pedestal that it deserves. If we have learned anything during this pandemic is that we are all in this together, no matter the gender, age, race, or social class. This virus makes no discrimination. Let’s continue to offer support and love to those who need it most (which is all of us). Don’t waste any time on hatred. Life is too short.

Life is but a dream…

I’m dreaming of a better tomorrow where the shadow period of 2020 is a memory of the past. What are some changes you would like to see in life after quarantine? Any predictions? I’d love to hear from all of you. Stay safe, healthy, and inspired friends. xoxo

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