To the Black people going to work today after a stressful weekend that was preceded by a stressful week that was preceded by a stressful life, I am with you.
I see you walking into your job/ logging into Zoom, sitting next to Becky and Connor, with the fakest smile on that you have ever worn your entire life.
You are weighing out losing your job and biting your tongue… for the umpteenth time.
You are cringing as you hear them distort the narrative.
You are swallowing the weight of being told how to hurt, how to grieve, how to deal, how to heal.
You are expected to professionally listen and not react to hearing their unsolicited opinions. It would be unprofessional for you to say, “Y’all had a problem with us kneeling, marching, sitting, standing, speaking. Exactly what can we do that would appease you, other than being good boys and gals bending over and taking it?” God forbid you say, “You wouldn’t tell a breast cancer victim ‘All cancers matter’, so don’t tell me, ‘All lives matter’.” You bet not react in any kind of way other than being a good ole gal and good ole boy while you sink further and further into your seat, contemplating how bad you really need this job. Because while there is a policy against you reacting, there is none against them provoking.
To the Black gay person having to decide which inequality you are going to fight against today.
To the Black receptionist who has to pretend that you don't see the Blue Lives Matter shirt.
To the Black janitor who has to hear, "All cops aren't bad" while no one is shouting, "All Black men aren't threats."
To the Black man having to decide whether to stand up for yourself or keep your job so that you can feed your family.
To the Black dietary worker who doesn't even know how to not walk on eggshells.
To the Black assistant who has quieted your Blackness down for so long that you don't even know how to reintroduce yourself to the staff... but you will.
To the Black intern who has decided that you won't laugh at the racial jokes anymore.
To the Black woman who will finally be brave enough to tell Susan that she cannot touch your hair.
To the Black child who is entering daycare after the weekend under the care of someone who doesn’t look like you.
To the Black entrepreneur who doesn't know how this will affect your sales.
To the Black newest employee who doesn't know if they will find a reason to fire you.
To the Black worker who is going to have to work harder and accomplish more than your counterparts just to make it to almost good enough status.
To the Black IT who has decided that you have quietly dealt with enough, and you have let enough abuse slide.
To the Black professional who has walked into work with your knees buckling/ logged into work with your fingers trembling.
To the Black Christian who is torn between trusting God and going to war.
To the Black employee who has so much anger, rage, fear, outrage boiling inside that you don't know which is which. You can't formulate your thoughts or sort out your feelings. You just know that you have to be "on" for these eight hours. You have to tuck YOU away because it's time to wear the mask.
To the Black grandma who is afraid that she watched her Black grandson leave for work for the last time.
To the Black dad who is angry with himself for bringing a Black child into this world.
To the Black husband who is finding out that your White wife wanted the Black penis, but not the Black fight.
To the Black wife who is finding out that your White husband loves your Black body, but doesn’t acknowledge your kids as being Black.
To the Black co-worker who is finding out that your White "friend" at work has your back only in text messages because he wants to “stay out of it”… even though you don’t have that choice.
To the Black boss who has to be professional and act like you ain’t hurting.
To the Black pregnant woman who is regretting your decision to birth a Black body into this country.
To the Black CEO who recognizes that you’ve hired people who love Black culture, but hate Black people.
To every Black person who is struggling with being Black.
To every Black person who thought we wouldn’t be in this situation in 2020.
To every Black person who painfully now realizes that you can’t expect liberation from your oppressor; you can’t expect freedom from those who love to see you in bondage; you can’t expect sympathy from the apathetic; you can’t expect understanding from those dead set on misunderstanding you.
To every Black person, the same strength that you have had your entire life is the strength that continues to reside in you. It has not gone anywhere. It has only been sharpened. Rise up, and don't let your brother and sister waiver. Whatever God has assigned you to do, do it. Don't water yourself down for anyone.
You have been equipped to make it through this Monday.
image courtesy of Shuttershock.