As of late, I have been conflicted regarding who I want to be and accepting the truth that consumes my daily thoughts. All the normalcy that I drew limited comfort from went out the window this week! And within my heart that bleeds Black I understand why… The persistent killing, economic oppression and abuse of African Americans by law enforcement coupled with staying inside for over 2 months with virtually no income for many people in America has driven an unequal society to its breaking point.
This is bigger than the killing of one unarmed man, this is about the killings of countless unarmed African Americans by police and lawless racist renegades for over a century. America is truly a boiling pot and it’s brew is running over into the streets. We are supposedly living in the greatest country in the world but we have taken the brunt of the social inequity for far too long.
We have endured slavery, peonage, Black Codes, Jim Crow segregation not to mention the ongoing effects of the prison industrial complex. And through it all we have been peaceful, docile, passive, submissive, clam and attentive during protests up until now! Knowing full well that we can be killed at anytime by a police officer without just cause. But what makes it worse is the inability of the American I have pledged allegiance to for the last 20 years to do something about it. How many times must we beg and plead for officers to be held accountable? How long before people notice that the injustice of some creates a stumbling block for us all?
Yeah, people are rioting and that sucks for communities and business owners but… That’s what happens in a society brought to the brink by it’s own lies and inconsistencies. See past that and understand the agony and frustration that people feel over losing loved ones who’s only sin was the color of their skin. How many times has lady liberty shined her torch on Black folk? Not never!!! All these centuries of torture of the Black masses, manipulation and cover-ups of foul deeds and not once did we seek payback… all we ever wanted was the opportunity to live and to see our children grow up but much like us the police is killing them too. And it has got to stop!
I went to a local corner store and as I approached I saw an elderly Black man with a bald head and a faint smile standing at the bus stop. As I walked closer to the gentlemen, I heard gunfire and immediately realized that someone in the Black Ford F 150 that drove past me was firing from the window. As they let off 12 rounds, I was shocked but I wasn’t scared. My feelings were just hurt and raw from the anguish of a painful reality… The fact that I am and have always been a walking target to people no matter my intent.
I followed my first instinct and took off running like a bat out of hell. I found a small opening between vans parked near the wall of the corner store. They were all the cover I had and I used their size to my advantage as I ran crouched alongside the vehicles. I fled and didn’t stop running till I made it to my house. I felt warm all over my body and checked to see if I was hit! Praise be to God, I am okay. More importantly I still believe in the freedom all people should experience and that is what I want for my family and all people.
This is an ugly time for society as a whole but I have faith that things will get better because they have too. But they can only get better if this country addresses it’s original sin. No matter your denomination, background, class or career path – I think we can all agree that freedom is many things but freedom isn’t free.
Please stay safe and protect those you love. Know that no matter what happens, I will always tell you the truth even if it breaks my heart in the process. You are all beautiful and valuable and nothing and no one can take that away from you. Just know that it is always the darkest before dawn.
Much love, Esha Montgomery
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images