“She’s an upstanding citizen! She’s the assistant principal of our school!”
That’s what she said before I was cuffed and placed inside of a Metropolitan Police car headed to the 3rd District police station. My charge: two-days expired license plates. How the fuck did I get here? Yes, l let a few “You motherfu**kers!” go before I was officially arrested, but I had done everything right. Right? I had obtained multiple degrees, spoken proper English; I was the effing Assistant Principal of a school and yet, I ended up behind bars on a Friday night at the 3rd District police station.
I often wonder what would have happened if she were not there. She is white. She is a friend. She waited for me to be released. The antithesis of “Karen” yet and still, I wonder. When I learned of Sandra Bland’s death, I cried like a newborn baby because it was only then that I knew, and deeply understood the breadth of possibilities and how far things could have gone that night.
I have been angry, saddened, and have even tried to unsee and un-hear the countless stories of Black people being killed by the hands of the police. The truth is, I am in pain. I am hurt. I have even felt hopeless. Pain, hurt and hopelessness can make you hard, but I choose to be soft. I choose to be soft with myself for my own well-being and liberation. I choose to be soft for my Black man and Black children. They need a Black woman who laughs, loves and finds joy despite the hardened casts they need for their story. I need her too.
Pictured: “Door of Return” – Elmina Castle in Cape Coast, Ghana