Yes, there is deep-seated racism in the United States that stems from a mass genocide slave holding culture that segregates the entire nation and causes black men and women to suffer under the chains of an unequal justice system; that forces people with dark skin to walk uphill their entire lives — can’t I fight against that inequality, and at the same time, say that the vast majority of law enforcement officers deeply care about the people and communities they serve and would step in front of a bullet for anyone?
Two men stand in the crowd, one, in front, is trying not to cry while holding a lit candle up in the air. His eyes are closed, his grip is firm yet gentle. Another man stands behind him, with his head on the first man’s left shoulder, eyes squeezed shut and a look of agony on his face.
The same year I graduate from eighth grade, 1967, my dad accrues thirty days of vacation from the General Electric Company. He proposes a cross-country road trip pulling an Apache pop-up trailer. My parents plan all year for this month of visiting every relative, long lost friend, and national park from Niagara Falls to Disneyland.
In the dark of winter, I fall asleep to the nick, nick, nick of my mom’s sewing machine in the guest room on the other side of my bedroom wall. She stiches drawstring cases for each of our sleeping bags. Mine is pink calico with turquoise flowers. My brother’s, a Navajo print on a maroon background. My dad’s, nautical strips in yellow, navy and red. My mom’s, the same strip in red, white and blue. She makes herself a mumu in a psychedelic pattern for the baking Southwest. For me she fashions summer blouses, shorts, and my first two- piece bathing suit with padding in the cups.
I’m feeling sick: literally, I feel like I’m going to throw up – thinking about the tremendous hate, that drove a young man to walk into an elegant white church, sit down and converse with a group of loving people during a Bible study, calmly pull out a handgun, and shoot them like animals.
At 9 p.m. Dylan Roof stood up, declared that he was “here to kill black people;” and massacred 9 innocent people in cold hate. One man asked him to stop – he shot him in response. He left one woman alive so that she could tell what happened.