Philando Castile, Alton Sterling Mourning Umbrella for Providence, RI Memorial March
You know. I don’t even have to say it. 2016’s posts pretty much say it all, and this isn’t the half of it. Thanks for following along throughout the year.
In January, I was barely done pondering how my father shaped my views on race relations, when the 2016 celebrity death avalanche started out, shooting an arrow to the heart with the loss of David Bowie.
In February we lost the great Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire, and Prince’s muse, Vanity 6’s, Denise Matthews. We didn’t know then, what was to befall our Godly Prince. In between those losses, I thought about how integration plays out in our day-to-day lives, noting that while we may have more diverse work settings than in the past, we still pretty much all live, and spend most of our time, apart from one another.
I got to highlight the first play written by friend, poet, Christopher Johnson: Invisible Upsouth that showed at the Wilbury Theater in Providence in March.
In April…in April..our hearts cried..Our Prince left our earthly presence and went up to make music with David, Maurice and Denise.
In May and June I became quiet on the blog, and in July I shared why, after a month of yet another, and another killing of Black men by police officers. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile lives were taken, July 5th and 6th.
Then I got quiet again.
In October I recalled a conversation with a friend, an anti-racism activist, who questioned my willingness to truly stand up against racism, all while standing in line for gourmet donuts.Later in the month I got to revisit Trinity Repertory Company’s Every 28 Hours plays, and their new Community Response plays, noting the sad state of the plays’ continued relevance this year.
And, just when I was hopeful for our future after hearing about the dynamic work of local community activists, and arts activism programming by youth from AS220Youth, at the AS220 FutureWorlds panel, I, along with much of the country, were devastated by the election of the new President, and what that will mean for Black people, women, and the Muslim, immigrant, LGBTQ communities. I channeled the memory of my mother, and she channeled Kendrick Lamar to let me know, with resistance, fighting the wrong, and love, we gonna be alright.
First setback after the election: the mistrial of the police officer who killed Walter Scott. It was caught on video. And the judge called a mistrial. It’s December–and still you wonder why Black people don’t believe their lives are valued. As I stepped away from my writing desk this year to learn how to be an activist, I gave a tip of the hat to all those that came before me, and those currently working day and night to fight racism. On the cusp of 2017, I vow, like many of my friends, to stay vigilant, to stand up for what is right, to fight hate, and work for positive change. I vow to love. Sending love and light to all of you, and many thanks for all the love you’ve shown me this year. <3