Yesterday was a good day.
On the 19th of January I discussed the local threats that we may face here in Connecticut as we all continued to talk about the insanity of January 6th. I prayed for safety for all of us as we prepared for the inauguration of both Biden and Harris. And on the morning of the 20th I allowed myself to feel joy. I need to feel this moment and lean into all it means.
My chest swelled with pride. I was in awe of this historical moment in our Nation’s history. As a woman, as a black woman, as an immigrant, as a Jamaican born individual this moment was a culmination of all the hopes and dreams of my mother and other mothers before her.
This is the reason why many will find the courage to leave their home country and start a new life in an unfamiliar land. I was literally bursting at the seams when I watched the procession of former United States Presidents, First Ladies and even the procession with the Supreme Court justices had me leaning forward in my seat. My joy bubbled over as I watched Amanda Gorman recite her poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’.
After replaying the six minute video clip more than once I couldn’t wait to read the lines of this poem for myself. I need to sit with this piece. The sixth line in ‘The Hill We Climb’ stuck out to me for many reasons.
It’s safe to say the racial tensions, social injustices and overall unrest we have experienced didn’t happen overnight. As much as many may want to pin America’s ugly on the back of one man, the reality is America’s always had these issues. For many of us, we have been having these conversations forever. These conversations took place at our kitchen tables, barbershops and intimate dinners among friends. We collected and shared stories of microaggressions, blatant and outright racism, conversations spanning how we chose to wear our hair at job interviews to when we started talking to our children about work ethic and having to ALWAYS put forth more than our non black counterparts for a fraction of recognition and accolades. We’ve always had “The TALK” as it relates to how we interacted with law enforcement-stressing to our children how the “wrong” tone, movement, or reaction may leave one severely maimed or dead.
If you were to ask me a few years ago if I thought we would ever find ourselves having a national dialogue about race, and social justice I would have shaken my head no.
Race like money and at one time politics were conversations that happened behind closed doors. Many, black and white Americans alike were not ready for a national conversation. It always seemed easier for some to brush off these issues of those of the past. The reality is, it’s our past, present and will continue to be in our future even as we witnessed the swearing in of the first female, first black, first Asian American Vice President of the United States.
Never for one moment did I think that all our issues would go away once #45 left the White House. Rather, his presidency and the many events during had brought to light an overdue conversation we must all have. The question is: America, are you finally ready?
What are your thoughts dear reader? I eagerly await your response.