I’m at Bridgehead, a cold flat white in front of me as I sit here, numb, after reading of the underwhelming charges given for the murder of Matthew Ajibade.
I’m looking up at a young black man waiting for his coffee, violently fighting back tears as I pour every fibre of my being into forcing myself not to run across the café to embrace him, and tell him I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that your North American experience is different than mine because of the colour of your skin.
I’m sorry that North America looks at you differently than me.
I’m sorry for everyone who ever has and ever will tell you to ‘stop making things about race’ or that ‘It’s 2015! Racism is dead and gone.’
I’m sorry for everyone that’s tried to make you feel like it’s all in your head.
I’m sorry that I will never, ever be able to understand what it’s like.
I’m not going to go into much detail, but Matthew Ajibade was murdered in a Georgia jail in January. The officers involved are being charged with involuntary manslaughter, despite the overwhelming evidence that his death was not accidental.
Matthew’s death is part of an astronomically massive issue that is becoming ever-increasingly hard to ignore.
This is racism. This is ignorance. This is North America doing what North America does and killing black people who do not deserve to die and refusing to even consider the fact that we may be at fault. As I said, I am numb. It just doesn’t even feel real anymore. What’s left to say? What do I do?
Racism is alive and feeding and too many people are pretending that it isn’t. Names are becoming hashtags over and over and over as black lives are lost every single day in a world that struggles to see any issue with this.
I don’t have an answer. I don’t know what to do.
My heart tells me to sit here and cry, to give up, to accept that there’s just no hope. It would be easy. It would be exactly what too many other people seem to be doing.
But my brain tells me to get up, to fight, to join more organizations like Campaign Zero, The Red Record, and Stay Woke, to keep on being pissed off at the blatant ignorance and hatred that surrounds me until more people start to listen.
I don’t know the solution- all I can do is share my thoughts and feelings and tell you what I’m doing. Those organizations I mentioned are a great place to start if you’re sitting here reading this and asking yourself, “Well, what can I do?”
So now I’m asking you: What do you think? What do you want to do? What do you want to see? And how are you going to help make it happen?
That’s not a rhetorical question. Please share. I don’t want to be in this alone and if you want to be a part of a long overdue, much-needed, ubiquitous change, please speak up. Start right now.
You are so needed.