I remember years ago people started hash tagging “say their names” and more importantly saying their names out loud and bringing to light the ongoing murders and unjust brutality of police and racist in a white supremacist world towards specifically Black people.
Around the same time hashtag Black Lives Matter began trending as well. Hashtag Michael Brown, hashtag Black Lives Matter, hashtag Say His Name, Say their names. It trends and it seems to work. People mobilize and fight for justice for the names behind the hashtag.
It has been almost ten years since we took to the streets for Trayvon Martin, eight since Michael Brown, six since Sandra Bland, and so on, and a little less than a year since George Floyd. Hundreds of names have passed through our vocal chords.
Sometimes my posts don’t reflect what is happening around us. I don’t always hashtag a name. I don’t always put my feet to the pavement, and I don’t always ramp up and share resources and call people out and say things that make people slide in my direct messages with their I’m sorry and how are you, really?
Sometimes, it is just too much. I can’t even repost a meme about how paralyzing it is to just live. It’s so ironic that around ten years ago I decided to live and not let fear dictate my life, for other reasons unrelated to race. I have anxiety just because I’m human, just like a whole lot of my white friends and colleagues and family members. Life is hard outside of race. When we add the white supremacy race to it, man oh man, can it be too much.
I live in fear but yet I still live.
I have found myself not saying much lately. What is there for me to say? Even as I post this I suspect there will be some folks who will never even try to understand. Equally as worse there will be some who try and see themselves and quit. But what more can I do with my voice, today?
I see his name. I hear the cry. The best I can do right now is whisper his name and try my best to stay alive and maybe live.
This is not meant to say that others should not do the work. Do the work. It is also to say sometimes you need to just take a beat. Feel something else. Know thyself and be true. Occasionally I bring their name to myself and speak it to my soul. Duante.