1.6.21 – Voices from Monterey Bay

By Carissa Purnell

The day we knew would come.
Call it the breaking point, the end, the beginning …
It all hurts.

Your deep breaths became shaky.
You just can’t get through them without the onslaught of sobs.
The breakdown you know, am I right?
I bet you can’t close your eyes until your tears empty and swell to sleep.
Then you wake up in the morning and leave.
I can’t stop, I won’t stop.

This is the reality of your American dream.

The hope and faith that filled you are dangerously low.
Right now, “they’re going low, you’re going high,” has run its course.
Your optimism in gradual change is hard to see behind your tear-drenched gaze,
and the promise of solidarity is shaken by your rage.

A deep, uncontrollable, bitter anger …
… Tinged with just enough hate to make you worry.
It’s a new feeling. The ugliness that no word can capture.

This is where Trump’s America has brought you, here by my side.
I am tired. I hold a grudge. I’m exhausted.

We went to the front lines of the protests.
Tired of pouring data to prove what we go through every day.
We are murdered. We are devastated. We are expelled.
Our communities are not invested.
Juggle semantics: black, finance, live, reinvest, count, reassign.
Meetings, calls, messages, emails, letters and walks.
Drink this tea after losing your voice call, after call, after call, after call …

For Georges. For AOC. For Vanessa. For Tamir.
For Bernie. For Philando For Biden. For Oscar.
For the assistant. For Alexis. For your county. For your city.
For Texas. For Georgia.
Para la gente. Para la raza.

Would you do it all?
I will answer for you,
Absoutely. Without a doubt. Stinks claro.

However my friend, the truth that you and I feared but knew so well is here.
Look around you. January 6, 2021.
We held it because the company expected it.
We held it because we were brought up to model civility that was never offered to us.
Held only in silence to avoid the shame our parents assume we might feel.
Wrong. No secret. We knew it was going to happen.
I hate to say “I told you so”, pero te dije.

Whites will not loosen their grip, will not let go and
don’t want people of color to share their power.

Our parents came here, crossed borders, oceans, walls and fear of opportunity.
The opportunity they hold, in our schools, banks, housing, investments, systems and institutions, in the spaces they control. The spaces they control with their power. They created the race for this purpose. Socially constructed to imagine the other.

Yet the transformational and ingrained change we need to tackle this requires courage,
not just ours, but these people. You know them. Silent drivers.

No, not the ones we’re taught to condemn, those noisy people we love to hate.
Terrorists storming the White House who will forever be entangled in hateful ignorance.
They will escape justice as they have done today, circumventing the law and committing acts of sedition. Find freedom in their acts of treason on behalf of their racist fascist leader. They are totally incapable of finding empathy or accepting us, any of us.

They are friends on the other side too, look. You know them better.
People who came to the demonstration but did not vote.
The people who sit in silence while we shout.
People who send their thanks but refuse to speak.
People who repost, repost, and influence, but refuse to be first.
People who are so awake take pictures as we walk.
The people who stand while we kneel.

No, I’m not sorry.
No, I don’t think we should create a space for them to unwrap their privilege.
We don’t need to quantitatively prove our right to live at the pace of their comfort.
Allyship is an investment in us today, tomorrow and forever.
They are in it, or they are part of the problem. Ride or die.
Unconditional love. Amor Sin Condiciones.

Our struggle carried a resilience that they tried to steal.
Redlining. Deprivation of the rights of criminals. Slavery.
The war on drugs. Travel bans. Internment.
Student loans. Trump’s tax plan. The thin blue line.
Environmental warfare. Suppression of voters. Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
Elections 2021. Supreme Court appointments. Jim Crow.
etc… (clap emoji)… etc… (clap emoji)… etc… (clap emoji)…

Try me. Give us a try. I changed my mind, we are not finished.
we’ve just started.

Do you have something to say about this story? Send us a letter.

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