I chose this photo even though it was taken a few years ago because there are so many pics of black and white hands in solidarity in my social feeds. These are our hands.
Today, like almost everyday I woke up next to this man, one of the most incredible men I know. Whilst he still slept, I scrolled through my phone. His arm across me, his face on my shoulder, my cheek against his durag. We are in Sydney, Australia. Half a world away from his US home.
If I am completely honest, I hate that one of the first thoughts I had as we lay there was to feel grateful, grateful for the fact that simply because he now lives in Australia, he is safe. I also hate that it is not the first time I have had those thoughts over the years. When he left for work, it did not occur to me to be worried about his safety because of his race. It never has. I am beyond grateful for that but I hate it too. He should feel safe back home as well. Hell, he should feel safe anywhere in the world.
I like so many am in disbelief by the continual senseless murders of blacks in America. I cannot begin to explain what it does to my heart. The images of Alton Sterling’s son crying for his daddy, of the way Philando Castile’s girlfriend held herself together after watching him be shot, how George Floyd called for his momma … and so many others will never leave me. It’s haunting. All because of the beautiful colour of their skin? I can’t.
The music, the clothes, the hairstyles, the shoes, the sport, the language, the culture can be loved but not the people? What am I missing?
I am a mum of boys, I have a father, I have a brother, uncles and male cousins. Just trying to imagine even for a moment how the skin they are born in, nothing else, is enough to be killed by the police, the very people we grow up believing will protect us, even in their own country, leaves me beyond words. I will never, ever know.
Yesterday, under the photos of his 2 gorgeous nephews, whom I love, his cousin wrote “Knowing that society will see these faces as a threat someday breaks me in a way I can’t even describe.” My heart is so heavy.
Today I have seen posts say that ‘it’s not a black vs white issue, it’s an everybody vs racism’ issue…
And from our side of the world, it seems so simple. My 3 boys are half Italian, half Filipino. Their step-dad is African American. Their step-mum is South African and her children are half Lebanese. That does not even begin to include who we have in our extended families and friendship groups. Tell me where and how racism could even begin to exist in our family? Our differences, our backgrounds, our traditions are not tolerated – they enjoyed and celebrated.
But in his world, things are far from simple. Things I have never had to think about are a reality for him. I pray for change.
The issue feels so big and I feel so small.
I hope all of the beautiful black people in my feeds know that I see you. I appreciate you. And I am sorry.
I’m not black, I’m a girl in love with an amazing black man. I love him, my kids love him. I love his family, I love his friends. I want him safe. I want them safe. I will never understand but I’m with him, I’m with them … always.
Originally published at www.melindacruz.com