I feel as though we’re living in a different era.
I had no plan to write this post. I had opinions about everything, sure, and was immensely saddened by all the recent attacks and shootings, but I felt as though I wouldn’t have enough to say, or that I’d just be parroting others. That it wouldn’t be enough. But then I recalled, earlier, words my mother had said and that I had thought countless times before- that it feels like we’re living in a different era. And suddenly, this entire post was laid out, oh-so-neatly, in my head, and I knew I had to get it down.
Because it really does feel like we are living in a time of the past- one where black men are unjustly killed by those supposed to protect them. One where a group of people whom just want to be accepted that are celebrating in perhaps the one place they feel safe are brutally attacked anyways. One where even the media seems a bit biased. One where someone so obviously guilty of doing horrible things to another has been granted leniency. One where people whom mean no harm aren’t allowed to use the bathrooms they wish. One where people’s religion is unjustly marking them as harmful in the eyes of others. One where people are denied equality based on things they can’t change.
We read To Kill A Mockingbird in my Language Arts class this year, and as we read I was astounded and saddened by the number of connections I could make to modern day racism and homophobia and hate. Nobody said anything- I live in the South- but I’m sure it was thought. And maybe, if I had spoken up, my classmates would have surprised me, but from what I have heard them say, it is doubtful.
History repeats itself, as we know. And maybe I am too young to truly see that in the grand scheme, but there are so many parallels today that it is nearly overwhelming. When do we learn from our mistakes? When do we learn to maybe keep our minds a little more open and our words a little less harsh? When do we learn? The horrific shooting of members of the LGBTQ+ community in Orlando hurt my soul, and then hearing about the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile hurt it a little more. Black lives matter. LGBTQ+ lives matter. This must be repeated until understood, and the fact that it is not already is heartbreaking. Let people live their lives without fear of being targeted for things they can’t and shouldn’t feel as though they need to change. Let them celebrate who they are. Let them feel safe.
(I did not mention the terror attacks on Nice, Bangladesh, Beirut, Istanbul, and Baghdad, because I felt as though those could not be compared. They are such a large form of terror that it is unparalleled, and it is awful and saddening. But they are in my heart as well.)
I have been writing for nearly half an hour, I think. My hand is cramping a little bit, and my fountain pen, although lovely, is fussing. I will finish this, and put my journal away, and tomorrow I will type this up and publish it for you to see. But now, it is getting late, and I would like to say one last thing.
Remind yourself of what year it is. Remind yourself, and others, that we must not live like it is 60 years ago. It is 2016, and we can make a difference. We can change. As a teenager there is not much I can do but repeat this: black lives matter. LGBTQ+ lives matter. Pray for Orlando, for Nice, for Bangladesh, for Istanbul, for Beirut, for Baghdad, and spread love.