My last couple of nights have been spent glued to my phone and TV watching events unfold live as so called “protesters” wreak havoc on my city and its people. Sure, I have spent nights in the past doing the same as this isn’t the first time this type of thing has happened but this time it was different. It has finally hit home.
OUR HOME…Charlotte, North Carolina.
I don’t know about you but I have always been proud to call Charlotte my home, although I wasn’t born here, my family moved to a quiet little neighborhood right off Harris Blvd when I was 5 years old and I am now living my dream and growing my own family here as well. Charlotte has grown, persevered, and became one of the most desirable cities to live in in America, not because of the beauty of the city, or that skyline that almost takes your breath away as the sun hits the buildings at just the right angle, or not because of the history, culture or anything like that but because of the PEOPLE. Now, things will forever be changed. Not just the businesses, the landmarks or the reputation but we the people. My family and yours,our neighbors, friends, coworkers etc. are changed.
-Charlotte will never be the same again-
Yesterday morning, my day started off somewhat normal but as I got into my office I could feel the tension all around. It’s as if everyone wanted to speak but no one knew what say or how to say it. The mood was somber and stayed that way for the majority of the day. None of us knew at the time that all of this would only get worse before it got better at least I didn’t.
At some point during the day (on social media) I was called a pretty little white girl, a cracker, a racist and lots of other words. I was told that I was being ignorant by not agreeing with the kneeling of the national anthem because of what it stands for. I was also told that my family, including my son will never know the pain that African American mothers or their sons endure on a daily basis but yet I was labeled, judged, cussed out and thrown into the category of “white privilege” by some who don’t even know me. They felt this way about me because of my skin color. Sadly, it’s a common trend- So many people who scream racism and point the finger at every race but their own are the very ones being racist as they are too caught up in their anger to even notice the hypocrisy and hate they are spewing out at the rest of this world.
But you know what? I forgive those people. Their comments hurt and it pained me to think that because my son’s skin color he will forever be labeled as white privilege or a racist. So you see, racism doesn’t discriminate and affects each race but we have no choice but to forgive. I understand why they are mad, and I understand that they are fighting for their rights and for a purpose and I also understand why they are angry. I stand with them in that fight and I can feel their hurt. As tough as some of these rioters/criminals may be, if you look into their eyes you can see it…the pain, the hate and the despair. Despite their actions, they are human beings and its up to us( you & I) to try and make the change that this entire world so desperately needs and we can start here, at home.
Unfortunately, these events that are happening now on what seems like a daily basis are already affecting our children. I’m sure I would be outraged and saddened by all of this even if I didn’t have a child but us mothers will tell you, it tugs on a different string when you have your own. We want nothing more to shield them from anything that could cause them harm in their lifetime and when this violence ends up in your own backyard is when reality really hits….hard. It’s here, so what are we going to do now?
This is what I thought about last night the entire time as I sat and watched our city slowly be ripped apart by criminals committing acts in such a way that you only see in movies. My 2 1/2 year old son was trying to get my attention and wanted me to play with him but I could not look away from what was happening. I felt guilty for shooing him away but I felt I needed to witness the pain that was happening in that very moment and take it all in, the good and the bad.
At one point, I realized my son had stopped trying to get my attention and he was now sitting on the floor next to me looking up at the television with his big blue eyes watching this bad dream with me. I watched in horror as I saw the reflections of the blue lights bounce off his baby smooth skin. I watched him squint his eyes and flinch when the popping noise was loud as tear gas was being deployed. My first instinct was to shield his eyes and turn the t.v. off but I didn’t, he continued to watch for a couple more minutes and even said “Mama Otay?” (translation-Mama, you okay?)and then picked up a toy and walked off like nothing had happened. Luckily for him, I don’t think he will remember last night or the days ahead and I am thankful for that but it doesn’t change what he and the other children of our country of all races will encounter in the future. As he fell asleep last night, I thanked God for his innocence in that very moment as it reminded me I can shield him for now. I have time to teach and mold him into someone who will leave this world one day a better place.
The change can and will start here, with us, with Charlotte. All eyes are on us. Let’s be the change the world wishes to see. It first has start in the home. Our children watch our every move, they hear every word even if we think they aren’t listening, they are. Let every lesson you teach them make them one step closer to being the kind of people this world needs. We must reach out to our youth and familiarize then with other races, encourage, influence and push them out of their box. As adults, we need to talk-talk about what is happening but be open to different opinions, agree to disagree and get the hate out of your heart. We must stop labeling and judging because of a few bad apples. There are more good people than bad in this world and we can win this fight if everyone does their part…and one might ask why is this probably one of the important things that our generation can do in our lifetime??
-Because our children and the future of this world are watching us-
Its time, Rise Up Charlotte.
We will pick up the pieces, move on and be better than we were before.
Until Next Time…