Yesterday (June 5, 2020) was emotional to say the very least. On top of a crazy patient load, my hospital took significant time to honor Black Lives. They prayed, spoke words of encouragement, raised their fists, and kneeled for 8 minutes and 46 seconds granting us a moment of reflection not only for our brother George Floyd, but for all the beautiful souls loss to injustice, discrimination, and hatred. In this moment, many people realized that after even 30 seconds of being on their knee, they felt the aches and pains and started adjusting their position (myself included). In this moment, I wept.
I wept because I pondered how someone had to have malicious intentions and an ill heart to remain in a position of discomfort while hearing the words “I can’t breathe” being uttered by a human being who’s life they are compromising. I wept while imagining society’s lack of humanity in what could be a magnificent melting pot. I wept because every day my family members and I wake up, I don’t know if I will see them again as a result of systemic racism and white privilege. I wept because I will never be able to put into words how emotionally, physically, and mentally challenging it is to be in a rigid dichotomy of loving all the melanin you encompass while often being treated poorly for that same beautiful pigmentation. I wept because as I sat in our meditation garden processing my feelings (that up until this point have solely been anger and rage), my work phone rang about four times. I wept because regardless of the pain people of color face daily, we still have to get up and make things happen without using injustice as an excuse. I wept because I look at my beautiful black nephews and wonder when their handsomeness will be deemed as a threat. I wept because there is really people in this world who don’t understand that all lives can’t matter until black lives truly matter. I wept because I thought about the many times I’ve had to hold my tongue in order for my passionate resolve to not be classified as the angry black woman. I wept because i will never understand how they can love our culture but hate our people. I wept for my black mothers, black fathers, black sisters, black brothers, black aunties, black uncles, black cousins and nem. I wept for my ancestors. I wept for justice. I wept for peace. I wept for freedom. I wept for love.
As I wept, a few people stopped to ask, “Are you okay?” “Can I bring you anything?”
Dr. Kim kneeled down, rubbed my back and said “of course you’re not okay, but I’m only a few buildings away if I can help in anyway.” Then Lisa, RN from Cardiology, asked if it was okay to sit with me. I agreed. She didn’t try to force motivation because we both acknowledged that there is no single expression that can heal years of intense hurt. we exchange dialogue and she asked, like many Caucasian people I know have asked, “ what can I do?” I told her that there isn’t a step by step guide to alleviating racism but from an individual standpoint, “acknowledge you have privilege. Don’t be oblivious to the facts. Use that privilege to protect and fight for the black community. Correct those “friends” and colleagues who make insensitive or racist comments. Educate yourself on our history. Realize that you can’t keep killing our people, pushing a group to the point of insanity, and then get angry cause we burned down target to get your attention. Be apart of the solution and not the problem.”
After I got back to the floor, I looked at the picture I took at the beginning of the kneel and realized that right there was Lisa. With continuous action rooted in genuine reverence and solidarity, we can change the world. #BlacklivesMatter