Surprise! I’m black!
Over the past couple of weeks, more than ever before, I have been constantly reminded of this fact.
Growing up, I honestly didn’t even see myself as Black. Both of my parents immigrated from Africa and strongly emphasized the fact that we are Africans more than anything else. Then, once I started school, I was always surrounded by white people and I didn’t really see myself as any different. I just figured I was more tan.
Then as I started getting older, I was quickly informed by society that I was Black. I started noticing the news. I started realizing that people were being mistreated for what I was. But I choose not to say anything about how those things made me feel because I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable by my speaking out and because I didn’t want to admit that I was different. I just wanted to fit in. I choose to stay silent because I cared more about how I felt than the needs of other people.
I was a part of the problem.
But June 2, 2020, was the day I woke up.
That morning I woke up and I was bopping. I was convinced that I was going to have such a fun day. Then I got on Instagram. I was SO confused. Why was everyone posting these black screens?!?! To be frank, I was triggered. It was my birthday. And instead of everyone posting on their stories, they were all posting about Black lives mattering. I straight up started crying and feeling bad for myself. Like HIII! I’M BLACK! DON’T I MATTER?!! WASN’T THIS SUPPOSED TO BE MY DAY!?
But it wasn’t my day.
After I wiped my tears away, I started realizing my privilege. The reason why I was able to sit there and cry about my birthday instead of rejoicing for the movement, was because I had never personally felt racism towards me. I realized that I was one in a million.
People were crying, mourning, and speaking out about the death of George Floyd and many others, yet there I was crying over my nineteenth birthday being ruined. I was acting like an actual clown.
How could I say that I loved others when I wasn’t grieving over this loss? How could I confidently call myself a devoted follower of Christ when I wasn’t heartbroken over the loss of human lives?
That day, and every day since, I have had to get on my knees and pray that God would show me how to love others more than myself. Because in the grand scheme of things, I don’t matter. If I have to give up my birthday every year for the rest of my life, I am now willing to do that. Honestly, I am willing to give up every day of my entire life for the justice of others.
So where do we go from here?
I really hope that the momentum from this movement doesn’t ever end. That we are constantly working to make every voice heard. I plan to cling to what is said in Colossians 3:14. “And over all of these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity”.