Regarding the devastating events of June 17, 2015 and June 13, 2016:
Posted June 19, 2015 on Author’s Facebook page:
When I was ten or eleven years old, I remember learning about the 16th St Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham in 1963. I remember memorizing the names of the four girls. One of them had the same name as my sister.
Clementa Pickney. Sharonda Singleton. Myra Thompson. Tywanza Sanders. Ethel Lee Lance. Cynthia Hard. Daniel L. Simmons Sr. DePayne Middleton-Doctor. Susie Jackson.
They probably welcomed him to bible study.
They probably asked his name.
He learned theirs.
They probably offered coffee and cookies.
He probably didn’t have his own bible. Someone probably shared. Or he read over a shoulder, followed expert fingers along the page.
Someone made sure he knew what verse they were on.
Someone offered up a personal interpretation of the reading.
No one made him feel like a stranger. No one made him feel like an outsider. No one made him feel unwelcomed. I was not there, but I know this. No one thought twice.
This is an event that will not leave me for a long time. Names I will commit to memory.
Posted June 13, 2016 on Authors Facebook page:
362 days ago I wrote down nine names and put the list in my wallet. Bearing witness wasn’t enough, just like thoughts and prayers weren’t enough… will never be enough. Bearing a physical weight– even a small piece of paper– felt like a more proper way to acknowledge the sadness I felt that morning reading the news, crying in Jeremiah’s kitchen. I wanted to remember. Better; I didn’t want to forget Charleston. Nine lives.
That piece of paper hasn’t even had time to age, to deteriorate. It’s still as fresh as the day I put in it my wallet. That paper isn’t even one year old.
Today I needed a bigger piece of paper. Forty-nine names.
As I placed this list in with the other, the horrifying image came to my mind that one day I might need a bigger wallet.
What sort of times are these.
. . . .
If you cannot see these acts for what they are– targeted and intentional slaughter of vulnerable, marginalized groups of American people,
or if your first gut instinct upon hearing these stories has been to make it about America(ns)/Islam/the bible/”All Lives”/yourself/your gun/or quite literally anything other than immense compassion for these *specific* groups, *specifically* (that is, to be clear, BLACK PEOPLE and LGBTQ+ PEOPLE),
or if you have not yet tried to have a conversation (outside of the comments section) with someone who doesn’t look or live or think like you, regarding these news stories,
Then the next time this happens I will need *you* to send me a larger wallet. For the names you allowed to be written down.
Dear “Second Amendment!” People…..
Dear “Second Amendment!” people:
I understand that the Bill of Rights is the ultimate ideological foundation for your fragile idea of AMERICA based on how tightly you cling to the list, especially number two. We couldn’t possibly ever AMEND the CONSTITUTION of America more. Psh!! Those first ten statements are way too important.
What were they again? Remind me? I know number 1 and of course I know number 2 because you won’t let me forget it. But I always forget the other eight. Forgive me, I am clearly not as well versed as you. You can list the rest of the Holiest Bill of Rights, right?
Oh, there’s actually twenty-seven amendments? That have been added over time because… Times change??? This isn’t the same country it was in 1789? When there were muskets that took thirty seconds to reload?
I have one more question. Can you help me understand Amendment Nine?
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
I *think* it means that people have other rights not listed in the Constitution, and the ones that are listed shouldn’t be construed to impede on those other vague ones. Maybe the vague ones are the natural rights, like life. Or dancing at a club on a Saturday night. Or watching Batman at a movie theater. Or going to church. I don’t know though.