I’m not a political person. I know, surprise surprise Ms. Red For Thought isn’t political. It’s not that I don’t care about politics. In fact, I’ve been voting in every election since I was legally able to. In reality, it’s that I don’t like to talk about politics with anybody, especially friends. Maybe I don’t want them to judge me, or maybe I don’t want to say something wrong or stupid, or maybe I just don’t care to get into discussions about it, but that’s how I’ve always been. Maybe I’m scared I’ll see who they really are instead of who I met when I was 6 and not want to continue my friendship. Who knows.
I also don’t see myself as a racist. Actually, I grew up in a household that was very accepting of everyone–the LGBT community, minorities–you name it. Although I don’t look like it, I am a minority and my parents have always respected that it’s a part of who we are. I’m also acutely aware that while I was not raised to look down on anyone because of who they loved and the color of their skin, that it is something that has been in bedded in my DNA, in my parents DNA, and in their parents DNA. Why? I don’t know.
All four of my grandparents left Cuba in the 1960s to seek out a better life for themselves. All four of them, luckily enough, ended up in the United States of America, “the land of the free” and settled in Miami. My parents met, fell in love, got married and had three children. And although being Cuban was always a huge part of my identity, being an American was more. I was raised to always remember how much my grandparents suffered to give us all a better life, and I should always be proud to be American because this is what they fought for.
Two weeks ago George Floyd was murdered. He was murdered by cops, who were supposed to be here to make us feel safe (I’m generalizing here but you get the idea). I don’t know what that’s like, and I’m lucky enough that me my husband and my sons will probably never know what that’s like. And while my heart breaks for George Floyd, and for all those who have suffered senseless murders, I feel lucky. Does that make me a racist? I’ll tell you a huge part of my guilt comes from the fact that when I heard about George’s murder, I was very sad. I immediately read every single news coverage I could on the matter, we spoke about it at the dinner table in my heart wept for his family, especially his daughter and mother whom he’s so devastatingly begged for during his last minutes on earth. But the part that I’m most ashamed of, is the fact that deep down in the back of my brain, although I was sad, I felt like this would blow over. And damn, I was so fucking wrong. Sorry for the F bomb but FUCK. Welcome to the new American revolution.
In the blink of an eye my world changed. Just like when COVID-19 made his grand appearance in the United States, George Floyd’s murder wasn’t going anywhere. The time was now. I had to speak up.
So many people are taking this time to show their support for the black community and I have never been more proud to be one of those people. Why should I speak up now? Because they’re asking us to. Why was I silent before? Because I didn’t know my silence was deadly. We’ve lived through over 1,000 deaths at the hands of the police in just one year and black people were 24% of that number. And don’t for a minute think it’s not a high number, because African Americans make up for 13% of our population. That right there is mind blowing. Right now, staying silent is a weapon. If we don’t speak up we are just as guilty as J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.
As a mother, I need to make sure that the world I’m leaving behind for my kids and grandkids is a safe, welcoming and accepting one. I need to know that my family will never feel threatened by those who make oaths to keep us safe, and as a mom who is vowing to do that for her kids, it’s my obligation to do it for all kids. No child should go to sleep worried that the color of their skin makes them less than. My kids didn’t win the generic lottery, they are white because I’m white—that’s it.
Please click on the link in my bio and find organizations you can support! We need to make a difference. Not just for George Floyd, Tony McDade or Breonna Taylor, but for all minorities who feel unsafe. We need to help America live up to its creed.
The other day I received a text from my mom. She said “I can’t believe how political you’ve become. I love it!” And my response was simple. “I’m not being political, I’m being human.”