You may have read about something wonderful my parents did for us as children in buying us black Barbie’s and black baby dolls and drilling into our heads that ALL people were equal. So I grew up knowing nothing about racism. I grew up in a small town and it was probably 65/35 white to black but I never, ever recall race ever being an issue whatsoever. If it was an issue I had no clue about it. I had a ton of great black friends and never thought about our physical appearance differences. They were just Amber and Cecily and Kmeeka. Maybe I was just naive. I honestly didn’t even know about racism, which I do think my parents should have educated us on but I know they didn’t not do it on purpose. Even going into college one of my roommates in the dorm was a black girl, who was so very sweet and kind. And I cannot even begin to describe by v.v.b.f.f. In the 3rd grade! Shawanda B! She was so cool and beautiful! But one thing stood between us. Competition. You see, even as a 3rd grader I already had that insane drive of being majorly competitive. So, every day during “handwriting class”, I was doing some major scribbling with my yellow 3 pencil to finish before any other student in the classroom. As I stood up – OK, I literally jumped up almost knocking over the desk, Shawanda would gracefully stand at the same time. She was tall and I was short so she always beat me to the teacher’s desk to turn her paper in. I will never, ever forget that every single time my teacher would say [I’m pretty sure with a ruler in her hand], right in front of my v.b.f.f. – like no privacy whatsoever – she would turn to me and would say, now Jennifer, you did a great job by getting your handwriting assignment done so quickly, but if you look at Shawanda’s [holding hers up beside mine but just a little higher] her handwriting is beautiful, you see? Yours looks like chicken scratch. Me: But I was one of the first one to turn it in?! Doesn’t that count?! Not really. OK, OK, I get it. Stop with this action your doing of humiliating me in front of my v.b.f.f. Shawanda would smile shyly. Man, I felt so bad she had to go through that. I’d catch her eye as I sat back down just to let her know all was cool with me. She would glance back at me, and I would interpret her look as, I love you girl! You’re awesome and can write so fast. 2 thumbs up!! In reality, she was likely thinking, damn white girl is bat shit crazy and her handwriting looks like a witch’s writing. But maybe not. I sure did think she was cool. Oh and she did come to my birthday parties so that means something, right?! The thing is, I just secretly knew “handwriting a.k.a. cursive” was going to be a thing of the past in the future so my chicken scratch was done on purpose. Well, one reason is because my cursive is the worst but – Why don’t we all do a written handwriting test in plain text? Nobody wants a piece of me on that test!
So my new adult beautiful, black, powerful black gal pal I met about 15 years ago at work. You know when you meet someone that is just like you and you either hate, excuse me, dislike them or you are like 2 peas in a pod? OK, so K and I were instant girl soul mates. So think about the many people you meet throughout your life. Think about how many you meet and know your life will never be the same without them. Think about those friends that stay in touch with off and on but you could pick up the phone right this minute and they would pick up the phone and it would be like you just talked earlier that day. To me, THOSE are your true friends. The older you get, you treasure these people more and more. You love them more and more.
So getting back to K. K is one of my favorite people on this earth. She has a cool, sweet, quiet husband, she has 2 beautiful, extremely smart daughters. And then comes her little 2 year old boy who is the most precious bundle of joy. And then there’s K. She is the most beautiful, powerful, strong, most loving momma, hardest worker – even got her MBA from UA driving to Tuscaloosa every other weekend!!! ROLL TIDE!!!!!!! She’s EPIC!!!! I admire everything about her. It wouldn’t surprise me if she had a bad-ass cape in the front of her closet with some really bad ass boots!! That’s K.
Now a little background about some white people and what we have been thinking about police violence against black people – at least I think this is a generalization. I have heard year after year about the police brutality and every now and then they will get some asshole cop going too far with a black person who may or may not have done something bad. I will be honest. I just didn’t know enough about it. I was extremely naive and didn’t comprehend how horrible the issue was. Until I watched as two asshole, racist ex-cops chase an innocent, young, jogger down and literally MURDER him right in front of me. He was fighting for his life to get that gun away from one of the podunk father-son lil-d1&k duo – I’m sure the one with the Rebel Flag in the back of his pick em’up truck. I didn’t give a shit if he had just set a house on fire. I don’t care if he just murdered someone, even a dog – and I love me some dogs. But to watch that horrible act changed something in me. I wanted to know more. I was angry. Real fucking angry. #CitizensArrest #Barney
It couldn’t have been 2 days later – I’m almost positive it was that quick. I had the tv on one night and in disbelief I watched and held my breath as I watched this tiny-armed mother-fucking cop sit on George Floyd’s back. I watched, not breathing, because I knew he couldn’t breath either. As tears formed in my eyes, I literally lost my shit. I don’t typically lose my shit, but that night I’m sure my neighbors heard the anger, the terror, the pain, the fact that I could do nothing to help this man. The rage I felt was like none I’d ever felt.
So I reached out to K because I trusted her and knew she wouldn’t judge me. I asked her what can I do? I felt helpless and wanted to do something to help. She said she needed some time, which I was more than happy to give her as much as she needed. She texted me back the next morning. It was a very long, very informative text. Some people might have been offended if they read it from the wrong prospective but I read it from a point a compassion and love.
She gave me more information in that email than I had ever learned in school or as an adult in just life learning. I cried. I cried hard. It was so hard to read. So sad. I had no idea that black and brown people went through some of the things they go through, including my own beautiful friend and her own family. And it wasn’t rare. It was the norm for her and other black and brown families. It was absolutely heartbreaking. She offered several great resources for me to go to in order to learn more about slavery and the great history of black and brown people. I wrote back to her that now I needed some time after reading all this and needed to let it soak in. I spent the rest of the night watching her recommended movies and documentaries and reading different papers and articles. I was obsessed. I had found my calling. I had never know of such suffering…such suffrage. I owe my calling to my v.b.f.f. K. I look at the entire world differently now and if you did some digging and research, you might just find your calling too.
My mom says I was born with a heart for Justice. Well, mom. You were right. God Bless America. #BLACKLIVESMATTER