My Thoughts Since Quarantine Has Started (Part One)

2020 has been a crazy year. I don’t think we’ve experienced anything like this ever. We’re literally in a pandemic due to COVID-19 and it doesn’t seem like things will be normal anytime soon. For Black people, it has been insufferable at times. We have lost our loved ones, we have lost Black icons such as Kobe Bryant, Andre Harrell, and recently Chadwick Boseman. More importantly, we have been fighting two wars: COVID-19 and racism. I talk about my thoughts on the racial injustices that have happened this year, my first time protesting, and how protecting Black women is more than just a saying.

Black Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter. Protect Black Women (Don’t Just Talk About It. Be About It.)

Photography by Erik James

Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Elijah Mcclain. Ahmad Arburey. Jacob Blake. Tony McDade. Oluwatoyin Salau. I have thought about these people a lot this year. It’s always exhausting to hear these stories about Black lives being lost to police brutality, racial injustice, lack of protection, etc. I was fifteen years old when Trayvon Martin was killed and I’ve heard the same unfortunate story ever since then. It happened to Mike Brown, Eric Gardner, Sandra Bland, Philando Castille, Tamir Rice, and countless others. I’ve been watching Black people lose their lives at the hands of the police for a decade now. I’m just sick and tired of it all. I’m tired of getting little to no justice done for Black people. I’m tired of white people and corporations using performative tactics to make it seem like they are with us, but not putting any actions towards their words. I’m tired of people thinking that we don’t have a reason to be upset or that they do not understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. At this point, if you don’t understand why Black people are standing up the way they are, then you will never understand. It’s not our job or responsibility to teach you that. There are more than enough resources for you to get access to. This has been rooted in America since the beginning. It hasn’t stopped and unfortunately it won’t stop anytime soon. However, I’m going to always stand by Black women, Black men, and Black people in the LGBTQIA+ community. It is important for me to use my voice and my platform for Black people always and forever.

Photography by Erik James

On June 2nd of this year, I went to my first ever protest in Houston. I actually didn’t plan on going to be honest because of my job and I didn’t want to go on my own. I wanted to go and fight for all the Black lives that have been lost due to police brutality and racial injustice, but I was kind of scared. I didn’t want to just go there by myself and get into a situation that would cause me to lose my life as well. So I just decided not to. However, my cousins hit me up to ask if I would like to join and that was more than enough for me to go. I took a half day off from work (I never told them why because they don’t need to know. Duh.) and I went over to my cousin’s house to get ready for the protest. The rush that was going through my body was something that I have never felt before. I was excited, nervous, scared, and proud all at the same time. We got over there and it was an experience like no other. I’ve never seen so many Black people united as one in my city like that before. It was worth taking a half day off from work and I was grateful to be there. Don’t get me wrong, it was hot and tiring as hell, but when you’re fighting for something bigger than yourself none of that matters. The fight is not over for us and honestly I don’t know when the fight will ever be over. However, I will always let people know that Black Lives Matter and will continue to matter in this world. Bottom line.

Photography by Erik James

There’s something else that has been on my mind a lot this year and that is Black women. Black women have had it rough this year and there’s no way you can tell me otherwise. We’ve seen a Black woman get thrown in a dumpster by Black men and get laughed at on camera while she was fearful of her life. We’ve seen a Black woman get hit with a skateboard by a Black man on camera and she was unconscious. We’ve seen people make jokes about Megan Thee Stallion’s tragic shooting. We’ve seen Iyanna Dior, a trans woman, get attacked by multiple Black men. Oluwatoyin Salau was sexually assaulted and killed by a Black man. Breonna Taylor was killed by police officers in her own home while she was asleep. They have not been arrested since then and she has been meme’d to death on social media. I know that there are countless other stories that I have probably forgotten about, but I say all that to say this: Where is the protection for Black women? The saying “Protect Black women” is more than just a saying. The actions should speak louder than the words. Listen to them. Understand them. Hold men accountable when they hurt Black women. Be aware. Love them. This is just the bare minimum. By the way, I obviously know that they are Black men that are doing their part as we should. However, don’t feel like a victim when a Black woman is explaining to you why she doesn’t feel protected. All you have to do is do your part and make sure that your friends are doing their part. It’s that simple. I will always continue to do my part for Black women when it comes to speaking out, holding people accountable, etc. However, we need to do a better job. If you want to be more educated on how to protect Black women, here’s an article that was written by Brooklyn White: https://bit.ly/32Nox1O

“being happy is the goal, but greatness is my vision”