Alton Sterling. Typing Hashtags & PTSD.


This won’t be long. It won’t be like the others. It won’t be lengthy and drawn out. It’ll just be. At first, I didn’t know if I could muster it. Anything, really. But I had to write something. I had to write the things I didn’t think I was strong enough to write.

Strength. I began to question whether or not I was ever really strong enough, in the first place. Could I ever be as strong as Sandra Sterling at a time like this?

How would I console my child if he were crying for his father? What words of consolation could I offer? How could I console someone when I needed consolation myself?

As the day has gone on, I’ve purposely avoided the video of Mr. Sterling’s murder. I don’t want to see it.

Black death is played on an endless video loop for the world to see on a consistent basis, and I want nothing more than to be able to escape it. I wish we could escape it.

But like most things that keep us up at night, the death of Mr. Sterling will haunt me, whether I watch the video or not. The screams of his oldest son will echo in my head, “I want my daddy,” until I am tucked in the fetal position. It will feel like a punch to the stomach. It will hurt-forever.

I wondered how many more times I’d have to type a hashtag as a response to a state sanctioned death of a Black person. I wondered why I even continued to do it. I almost didn’t. I almost said nothing.

I hated myself for wanting to say nothing. I was engulfed in darkness. The silence became deafening. Though, what I hated more was the system that had led me to believe that my voice-that OUR voices didn’t count. The system that made me feel like this was routine. Like this wasn’t extraordinary.

What does the constant consumption of Black death do to us? Witnessing and experiencing terrifying events that we are later told didn’t happen to us the way we said they did, having to pick up and carry on like nothing transpired. What happens to us every time we have to post, share, Retweet, march, shout, cry, yell, demand, petition? The truth is, sometimes we want to give up. This morning, I wanted to give up. I felt trapped. I didn’t know how we could make it better. I suspect some of you may have felt the same way.

But here’s what I do know-we can never give up. We can never allow this to be OK. We can never allow ourselves to think of this as “routine.” There is nothing normal about this kind of unrelenting torment.

We must use our voices-just as Mr. Sterling’s wife did. Just as Trayvon Martin’s parents did, just as Mike Brown’s parents did, just as Sandra Bland’s family did, just as Sean Bell, Rekia Boyd, Anthony Hill, Tamir Rice, Samuel Dubose, Eric Harris, Kimani Gray, Aiyana Jones…

We have no choice. They are us. And that’s exactly why it hurts so bad.

To donate to Mr. Sterling’s family, click the link below



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