I have seen such terror lately from the white people in my life. I am not terrified in the same way today but I do understand you deeply. I have been terrified in the way you have been these past few months before.
In my childhood, when I first started to understand that the value I placed on my own life, that my black family and loved ones placed on my life, was not the same as the value the world did, that feeling started creeping in. That is a terror I have had to live with since then. There is a certain odd sort of numbing that happens when you live in utter disbelief of your disposability daily.
As I grew older, and my sexuality developed, my gender asserted itself, and my sovereignty over my own body was repeatedly violated and questioned the terror grew in its way. But the numbness also grew. Like a protective cocoon around my fragile child’s body that hoped to open into a place where people like me can be butterflies, but there is no place like that.
Lately, my white comrades, you have come as close as many of you ever have come to understanding what we have been trying to explain to you for years. Understand that our cynicism and irritation at your lateness to arrive here is not just about you. Your terror is a trigger. So many POC children inside of us are scared like you are from the first time that this happened to us & the hundreds of times it would happen after. They are scared in ways that many of us have grown out of for the sake of survival and that some of us just think we’ve grown out of and your terror is a bitter reminder of our constant danger. A danger that while new to many of you is so old as to be ancestral to many of us.
If, in understanding our terror for the first time in your collective lives you are finally open to us, hear this: your survival has always been linked to ours. We have been dying for years from what will soon claim you. Now is the time to be the allies that we have been pleading with you to be. It may very well be many of our last chance to do so.
LISTEN TO US. WITNESS US. YOU WILL NOT SURVIVE WITHOUT US.