From day 1, I was taught to always be kind. I was taught to stick up for children that were being bullied on the playground. Never have I lost the belief that when people are being mistreated, I will make sure to help in anyway I can. But I was not the only child taught that. Children all over this country are taught this if not by parents, then by teachers and the faculty at schools. So when I hear that people are choosing to be filled with hate, when I hear that people in society are being “bullied” in a greater way, why does it not make sense to fight for the victims of this endless bullying?
Kindness starts at home. My home is in a predominantly white suburb of Chicago. Both my grade school and my high school were predominantly white. I look as white as can be. The roots of my family come from Mexican immigrants, Italian immigrants, and Irish immigrants. But just by looking at me, all you will see is a white girl. My life was wonderfully handed to me. If that is not privilege, then I am not sure what is. There are only two things in my life that hold me back from being the most privileged in society, and that is being a woman and openly speaking about being mentally ill.
In January of 2016, I almost ended my life. I planned it, I took action on it, but then I stopped myself. I then looked in the mirror, and who I saw was not the same girl that I had been up until then. I wanted to die. The bullying at school overtook me. The fighting I had done for so long felt useless. Yet I live a wonderful life in a world where I am privileged. I know that if I was born a black girl, where not only some kids at school were against me, but the whole world was too, I would be dead. That is why I am using my privilege to say this.
In children ages 9-12, the highest percentage of children that take their own lives are among black americans at 9.8% yearly. Let that sink in. Before these children even get to live their lives, they are torn down by racism and oppression. On my worst days, I cannot even handle people making fun of the weird things that I know I do. If I had to face systemic racism in my everyday life, I cannot even imagine the mindset I would be in.
Racism is NOT a controversial issue. It is wrong. There is no excuse for it.
These people protesting are risking their own lives day and night so that their children can roam the streets and come home safely everyday. They are each braver than anyone in my life, including myself.
Kindness starts at home, right? So why is it that I easily see the reason why we should all be standing with our black brothers and sisters, but other people that I grew up with can’t? Being not racist is not hard. Neither is kindness. These people who are risking their lives for what they believe in are not asking for people to miraculously start flying. They are not asking for something that is impossible for humanity to do. They are simply asking to be treated kindly. So it is not a matter of whether or not you personally know someone who is black. It is not a matter of white vs black. It is not a matter of if you care about politics or not. It is simply the matter of killing human beings.
I will NEVER sit back and watch while human life is being murdered. No one should. I do not care what color you are, what your job is, where you came from, if you have a bigger issue with people fighting for their right to live than people dying, YOU are inhumane. So to anyone that might be judging me for fighting for what I believe in, I am judging you for doing nothing.
To all of my family and friends who may disagree with me, I hope one day you have the same love, kindness, and respect for all human life just as you do for your families. I want you to imagine the fear of not knowing if you will see your child come home for dinner. I want you to imagine what you would do if you own child was killed. Not only killed but killed by the people you should feel safe around. Would you not do whatever you can to save someone you love? Would you not want the murderer of your child to be imprisoned? Would you not go to the ends of the Earth to save your child? Your grandchildren? Your nieces and nephews? What if it was me who got murdered. How would you feel?
The reason I am who I am is because you have all taught me to be this way. So when you are angry at me for the action I take in wanting to make the world a better place, remember who told me to love others. Remember who taught me to stick up for the kid getting bullied on the playground. Remember who instilled the belief system that I have. While many people I know let the world make them hard, I was being taught to never let that happen to me.
Not a single life can matter, until all black lives do. Educate yourself. Help educate people that are ignorant. Fight for what is right. Always love one another. If we all just had a little bit of empathy for all people, innocent lives would be saved. And the angry, disgusting, monsters of this world would have no power. Do better. Do better. Do better.
I understand that I will never understand, But I will always stand with you. #blacklivesmatter