Evanston/North Shore

Today I'm at a loss for words

by Donique McIntosh, Co-Director of Racial Justice Programs
Posted July 7, 2016


I am at a loss for words. I woke up to news of yet another killing of a black man by police. Writing seems so futile and yet here I am, putting fingers to keys hoping that something halfway coherent and meaningful will show up on the computer screen. The work to eliminate racism is head and heart work. And today my heart is heavy. I don’t know either of the latest victims personally but it feels like I do. It feels personal when your brown skin is the thing you have in common with the people who keep being killed. It feels like an assault and there isn’t any good way to take cover, no way to dodge a bullet when they come from seemingly every direction and no direction.

I just had a random conversation with my sister over the weekend about these killings. We shared our fears and concerns for my nephew who’s a tender teenage boy who happens to be 6 feet tall and probably two hundred pounds. I see his tenderness and his boyish ways but I can’t help but wonder what a random white police officer will see when they look at him. Will they see him as a threat and shoot to kill? Will he wear a hoodie one day, despite my sister’s admonition, and die some useless death because somebody thought he looked dangerous? I used to tell myself that instances like that were rare. These days my belief in the paucity of such tragedies is fading like an image in an old photograph.

I want to feel hope instead of despair but I’m not there today. Tomorrow’s another day and with any luck I’ll feel more hopeful. I desperately want to feel more hopeful. But I can’t and I won’t wake up tomorrow and go on as if two more lives weren’t taken. Will you?

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