This has been a tough week for me following the #Ferguson fiasco and non-indictment for trial of the officer who killed Michael Brown in Missouri. Not only has that particular non-indictment contributed to my sadness this week, but also what seems to be a national crisis in the United States of police brutality resulting in the death of black people groups in our country’s urban centers.
So, I decided to just go to the park and reflect on my thoughts and feelings this beautiful Sunday afternoon here in Talca, Chile. It warmed my heart when a group of teenagers approached me on their bicycles asking me to sign their petition for the city to create a bike park for them. Awwwww, ❤ that was just what I needed at that moment. An act of civic engagement by today’s youth (tear). Their interest in becoming involved in their community politically, was just the inspiration booster shot I needed today. So I pulled out my Chilean resident identification RUN number and happily signed their petition. It felt really, really, good to share in that experience with them today.
However, shortly thereafter entered the negative voice in my head. I began to wonder, if I were in the United States and this was a group of young white teenagers, would they have even felt comfortable approaching me? Moreover, if again in the United States and this was a group of young black teenagers approaching for the same purposes and I was a white woman sitting alone in the park; what would be the outcome? Would memetic imagery override reason and could said woman becomes in fear of her life? What if in the last scenario, everyone was living in a conceal-and-carry gun law state, and the park visitor (e.g., white person) pulled a gun out of her purse and starts shooting because she felt threatened by the black teenagers?
I know these hurt feelings that I hold are still very tender, and perhaps at some point (when justice prevails) my thoughts will return to “normal”. Maybe, such scenarios and questions will not dog my mind or make appeals in my head as normative (like they currently do).
So here is to seeing the rainbow after the storm, to being inspired by the political activism of the young Chilean teenagers I experienced today, to all those here that have just looked at me quietly and smiled in solidarity as #TheStruggleIsREal. To all of those types of people, I say thank you today. 🙂