Yesterday I was told that I don’t have a say. I was told that my opinion doesn’t matter because the color of my skin means I will never understand. I can’t understand, and therefore can never care. Last night I watched the city that I spent the better part of my transient life burn. I watched buildings that I tutored children burn. I watched a neighborhood where I taught tennis burn. I watched a neighborhood where I set up nearby community gardens burn. I watched and felt the anger and adrenaline and sadness pour through me. None of this is right. Nothing from the beginning to now has been right. Yet, I have no say.
Then, as I felt one of the most painfully torn blows to my emotion that I’ve ever felt, I received a call from a friend. I’ve only spoken to her a few times, though we keep in touch through writing. She is someone who has a say, moreso than anyone I’ve met. She says that I do have a say, I do count, we all do. “Remember. It’s what He said.” He, referring to Rev. Martin Luther King, the same person who spoke the words, “We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence.”
We, Reverend King says. We. Our destinies tied up with one another. It is not he, it is not I. This struggle, our struggle cannot be overcome without working together. If we continue to focus on the “I” the “They” the “You don’t understand because…” Then we will accomplish nothing. Struggles will remain, violence will persist, and the separation of those “who understand” and those who “can’t understand” will never desist.
For those who understand Our struggle and for those who say my opinion doesn’t matter and I will never understand, perhaps my beliefs are better expressed by another.