Feeling Sick About the Injustices in America

I feel sick. From Minnesota, a ripple of anger and exhaustion is spreading across the nation, across the world. Even in the cool reaches of a suburban neighborhood thousands of miles away, I can feel the heat of fires stoked by protesters, by the words leaving their mouths, their fists raised in the air. This feeling, the pit in my stomach, should be felt by everyone who lives in this country. Every single person. Seeing unjust violence by those in power committed against black and brown Americans should reach into your body in fill you with discomfort. I watch this anger that I cannot fully understand, but I know that it is right. It makes you ask questions – the right questions. Why am I supporting a system that simultaneously punishes and kills others? What have I given to corporations that they haven’t in turn taken from others ten times over? How can I be silent when that same silence leads to oppression? Some people have never known a life without that haunting feeling and those pressing questions. To them, injustice is a living, breathing reality.

It’s really hard to step outside of your own experience, I know. But these protests, this attention, gives us a chance to do just that. The words “No Justice, No Peace” speak to all of us. And it shouldn’t end there. It isn’t just the thought that counts. To truly understand the frustration, one has to put in the work. By reading more, by listening more, by speaking up and spreading the message. I keep telling myself: don’t let go. There is no peace in forgetting. In a 2016 essay, Hannah Giorgis asked readers “How Many Black People Can You Mourn in One Week?”. In a few sentences, she articulates what we must all recognize: “To be black in America is to exist in haunting, mundane proximity to death at all moments. There is no reprieve, no mute, no block, no unfollow that can loosen us from its shadow. And yet, we must live. We must carry on as though nothing is wrong, as though video of our death is not both the trailer and feature film”.

As I see images of the Third Precinct building in Minneapolis in flames, I feel in awe of those protesters. But realize that they are no different from the rest of us. Humans who are tired and angry of a world that does not work. Just because I am privileged by that system doesn’t mean things don’t need to change. We shouldn’t hope for things to “go back to normal”. We should all strive to oppose racism in any form, to keep stepping outside of our own experiences. I want to feel righteous, to burn with rage. But right now, I just feel sick.

For more resources and ways you can help: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co

Directory of community bail funds: https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/nbfn-directory