Two months ago, when my graduating class was told our last semester of our senior year would not look how it was supposed to, I was devastated. My university handled it beautifully, but I knew that nothing would replace going one last time to the pizza shop by the corner, having game nights with friends or conversations before class with teachers and fellow students, or studying in the library for so long I would accidentally skip two or more meals. Nothing would replace those last experiences I wanted, craved.
I tried to write a letter to my class on my blog here about the feelings I felt at the time, but found that, for once in my life, the words wouldn’t come. And now, sitting here, seeing these travesties centered around race and brutality, I find myself back in that same position I was when my graduation was taken away, except this time, the feeling is much worse. And this time, my words fuel my emotions. This time it isn’t a simple matter, not something that can be replaced with a virtual ceremony.
My fellow humans have lost more than simply their senior year. They’ve lost their lives, their families, their freedom. They’ve had to think twice before walking home at night. They’ve had to debate what car to drive or what clothes to wear or what way to speak to try to give off the “right” impression. They’ve had to consciously be correcting and modifying themselves to fit an image that would keep them safe, and even then, safety wasn’t and isn’t guaranteed.
They’ve had to be strong. They’ve had to be aware. They’ve had to be caring and careful and cautious. They’ve had to be so much more than I could ever be and they’ve had to be this everyday.
And so currently, we honor them, we urge for change. We carry flags and wave banners that show that black lives matter. We fight and plead for something to happen, for those involved to be noticed not just today but everyday. We want people to know this isn’t alright. This isn’t okay.