I don’t usually do this, but it’s time that I finally do. I’ve decided to try out a new thing. Writing on the big topics is something I try my best to avoid because I’ve been known to be offensive in the past. I’m someone who puts their foot in their mouth & doesn’t always think before they speak. But I’m not a kid anymore & we all say dumb things when we’re young. It’s time for me to get over that. This week I’ve been thinking. So today, I speak.
I grew up in a sheltered home. Like, wasn’t allowed to watch The Simpson’s sheltered. Like, only watched 7th Heaven sheltered. I lived in such a white Christian bubble wrapped community that I didn’t even start listening to secular music until I was almost 19. I have no clue what racism or discrimination feels like firsthand. Closest thing to it is the unimportant & insignificant mark that single people have inside the church, which is a small flicker of the flame compared to the wildfire of the true blindness happening all around us. So, I admit I personally know nothing of hate. Not based on skin color, not based on demeanor, not based on just simply existing. I admit I grew up far from the truth & that it shaped my naive ways of thinking.
Aside from not knowing anything outside of my picket fence world, I grew up with racist jokes & stereotypes being a thing. Because hey, after all, they were “just joking” so that makes it alright. I had a grandpa who thought interacial marriage was wrong. I have a grandma who has described certain body parts of others using another race’s derogatory term & didn’t bat an eye while doing it. My parents never said these things were acceptable, but they definitely never said they were wrong. I had a family who spoke up when & where they wanted to, but never where they needed to.
If I was the one born into a home where I had to fear every step I took walking down the street I’d want someone to speak. If I had a target on my back just because of the way I looked I’d need someone to speak. If my own dad’s life was taken just because of nothing other than someone thought they had to be afraid of him I’d cry out for someone to speak. But we never spoke because we (me) never knew. This thinking is crazy to me. It’s truly a foreign concept to someone who has never not felt safe in their entire life. But the truth is people live with this being their world. And I must speak.
Before I was born I had an uncle who was a cop who died protecting a school filled with children from a man who threatened their lives with a gun. My cousins grew up without a dad because he was willing to sacrifice his own life in order to save innocent ones around him. He was good. He was human. But he died.
I had another uncle who just recently retired from the force & he’s someone I treat with the utmost respect. He’s never done wrong. He’s never let me down. He’s never treated someone without the decency they deserve. He is good. He is human. He is alive.
My family likes to defend cops solely for the sake of them being cops. My dad likes to act like just because he isn’t racist means racism doesn’t exist & that people are just too sensitive. But this isn’t about me, it’s not about my family values, it’s not about how I was raised or how my family behaves. It’s about humans. It’s about lives & existence & stories that are real. It’s about death & pain & hurt. It’s about the blindness of most & the awareness of some. It’s about living in a country that cries freedom while not all of us are truly free.
I don’t stand with cops. I don’t stand against them. I stand with the idea that a human is a human & right is always right, & wrong will always be wrong. Killing is wrong. Hate is wrong. Humans against humans is wrong.
I can’t say I know the reality of what people in these tragedies are truly facing, but I know the realness of loss. Whether death storms in by ways of just or injustice, it’s not a good thing to experience. My grandpa dying of old age, just. Men & women being shot & killed because of race, sexual orientation, location, occupation, or just breathing/existing, so completely unjust.
I gave a ton of back story, but I don’t want any of that to be used as an excuse. If you’re human, you have a voice & you have the God given ability to use it. Don’t let things go unspoken out of fear of saying the wrong thing. There’s so many wrongs going on around us, we need the right words of justice to be said & be heard in order for real action to take place.
My heart is broken over death. My heart is broken over indifference & avoidance of such topics. My heart is broken over not knowing what to do about either of them. I’m mad over silence. I’m mad over ignorance & jokes & acting like something being not close to home still shouldn’t be. After watching someone I loved take their literal last breath on earth right in front of me I know how peaceful the end of a life is supposed to be. There’s no peace in taking something that wasn’t yours to take. There’s no peace behind a hateful death. This world is a shitty & hard enough place to live in without the messes we continue to create. We need to do something before there’s nothing left we can do.
It took a little bit of courage from a few close & special friends of mine to decide to write something like this. I have this platform & I must speak, I must talk, I must do. Though this courage is a sliver to the kind we need in order to actually have change take place, all courage is important. I encourage you to call out your racist grandma. Call out your joking dad. Call out your brother for just throwing a pastor’s quote up on Facebook. Just always be sure to call out in love. Because I believe that when we do, we’ll see the hate melt right off of humanity & it’ll uncover a more beautiful world than one we could have ever dreamed of living in. Let’s turn up that kind of heat humans because I think we’re all ready for a world like that. A world where my niece doesn’t have to know anything but love & acceptance because of our action.
I’m sorry for being silent for so long on something that desperately deserves a voice. I don’t usually do this, but it’s time that I finally do. So today, I speak.
— abbey kay
*brought to you a girl who isn’t proud of where she came from, but is willing to do everything she can to help create a more considerate & understanding reality for everybody