Art from Mondaes
Dear American People
It has been a difficult year and 59 days. It has been an exhausting year and 59 days. It has been a demoralizing year and 59 days. The last thing you want to hear is a pep talk, and I understand that, believe me. When your phone beeps to alert you to porn star scandals, wildfires, 31K taxpayer funded dining sets, white supremacists stepping up their terrorist game, murders of citizens by so-called peace officers, POTUS trash talking world leaders by tweet, and the massacres of children in our schools among other issues, the last thing you’re going to believe is that everything will be all right. But it will. My mom said so.
My mother is from a time, not so long ago, where she and her sisters played happily with the neighborhood kids under the South Carolina sun, but went to school separated from them, because she is black and they were white. She is from a time, not so long ago, where once in school, she learned from books that were at least 5 to 15 years older than the books her neighbors used. On Saturdays in her day, she loved to go to the movies, where she was separated from her white neighbors by a cord, although they all had paid the same dime. She is from a time where after the movies, about once a quarter, the KKK marched down Main St. right in front of the theater, just so she and every other African American who lived in her town understood who they were in this seemingly tight knit community. She might know a thing or two about what we can withstand.
So, if you are upset that gerrymandering is one of the reasons why we keep getting notifications of the latest cabinet firing, or telling us which right we’ve been stripped of with the stroke of a pen or defunding of a department, gain some perspective. My father risked his life, not so long ago, to drive college students in Alabama to the polls. We don’t have to do that anymore, because regardless of the government supported assaults on the power of our vote, most of us have safe access to our voting places. Those that don’t have hope because several organizations are suing on their behalf for better access, the restoring of voting rights for felons, the expansion of polling places and hours, and the dismantling of districts drawn to consolidate power. It’s happening, I assure you. And if you want to help, you can make donations to the ACLU and The Southern Poverty Law Center as easily as you order cat food from Amazon. It will be all right.
Maybe you are despondent because our leaders seem unable to protect our kids as they pursue their education. I get that. My mother managed to finish her secondary school education with top marks and went on to earn her BS in Business Education, when most of her high school classmates did not or could not. She didn’t have to worry about her safety at that time as black schools hadn’t been attacked in a few decades, but still and all, her education was quite an achievement. Yet when she had her own child in the 70s, she saw the reaction of Bostonians to desegregation in their schools and recognized the same violence and hatred she’d seen as a child. She opted to send that child to private schools and was grateful she had worked to make that possible. Now her daughter teaches all manner of children in public school and those children are forcing these leaders to take actions to protect them. They will make it all right. You can help them if you want, by creating your own PAC to combat gun violence. Check your Facebook friend list: I’ll bet at least ten of the people listed would help.
I won’t hold you, people of America; I know you have things to do, but I don’t want you to lose heart, or worse succumb to apathy. It will be all right. People like my mom fought too hard to do things that we take for granted like shopping where we want, living where we’d like, enjoying a movie, meal, carnival ride without regard to our race (sometimes, but that’s another letter), so they won’t be moving to Canada. This is their home. It’s yours too, dreamers, women, elders, teenagers, people of color, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Wiccans, Atheists. We simply have to do our part, big and small, to fight against its destruction. Get out there! Mom said it’s going to be just fine.