Last night, I along with thousands across the country, watched as Prosecutor Robert McCulloch read that a grand jury chose not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, Jr. I knew in my heart what the conclusion would be, but I was hopeful. I tuned in not to hear a guilty verdict, but just to hear that the situation warranted additional review, investigation, a fair trial in light of all the witness reports and evidence that had come to light.
Last night, I watched as people took their anger out in the worst way. They burned a community, businesses, dreams. They burned respect. They played into the hands of those who thought the worst of them. And we (the world) were watching. Thousands in other places protested in peace, but we did not see them because the focus was on the destruction that took place in Ferguson.
There will be questions asked for days, weeks and months to come. Why was the grand jury handled this way? Why was the announcement made at 9 p.m.? Why this, why that? We may never know the answers. Without answers, can we ever really find a solution?
Today, I read posts from people who I have followed for some time. At a time when my heart was heavy, they did nothing to lighten the burden. Today, I have unfollowed people who have shown where their true feelings lie. Everyone is entitled to their thoughts and opinions. But everyone is not entitled to my friendship or my support.
Last night and today, my heart was heavy with the hopelessness of yet another life lost. My soul was filled with the hopelessness of feeling that as a Black female, I will once again have to explain why I am angry, frightened, sad. My mind was filled with the hopelessness of knowing that this will not be the last time that a life will be lost, a community will be torn into two and a nation will once again be at odds with itself.
Today, I choose to proudly speak my mind. Today, I choose to value my friends (of all walks of life). Today, I choose to say that although I will not let society define me by my race; my race — my heritage — is the very essence of who I am. It is that heritage that calms me by knowing that the generations before me endured, persevered and thrived during times when hope was plentiful and when it was not. They survived so that our generation could have opportunities. They were quiet so our generation could speak (and yell when necessary).
Today, people promoted a Black Friday boycott. For me, I have decided to boycott those whose comments I find hurtful and divisive. My timelines are not places for ill will to live. Today, I chose civility.
Last night, today and each day to come, I will choose peace.