Don't Forget Your Magic

Source: http://awolerizku.tumblr.com/

Source: http://awolerizku.tumblr.com/

Do not forget your magic, even if society wants you to believe you are less than.

Africa is the birthplace of the human species - a land that has been home to some of the greatest civilizations known to man (and we're not just talking Egypt - even if other great civilizations aren't commonly taught, they did exist). We have far more in common as humans than people can begin to fathom. 

Many common American inventions were created by people of color, many who were descendants from American slaves -- individuals who were ripped from their homelands, customs, and languages and banned from educating themselves at a certain period in this country yet they still created feats of efficiency and ingenuity.

Do not forget your magic

Some of the greatest performers and creators of all time are people of color who birthed careers and great works that influenced every element of culture, many born during a time when there were even more limited paths and disenfranchisement of people of color than there is now. POCs continue to constantly mold culture through language, style, music, literature, dance, and beyond against the odds (Prince, Michael Jackson, Stevie wonder, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Billie holiday, Dorothy Dandridge, Toni Morrison to name very few).

Do not forget your magic

Slavery lasted 245 years, Jim Crow and segregation a combination of 77 years, equaling a total of 322 years of explicit oppression written into our laws and lives in the U.S. The Civil Rights Act, a landmark piece of legislation passed in 1964, gave us roughly 52 damn years (a blip on the blink of time) where our society hasn't operated under explicit, LEGAL racial laws, although we continue to experience implicit bias, discrimination, and police brutality everyday.

Do not forget your magic

Our U.S. ancestors survived lynchings (over 4,000 in an 89 year span), the Birmingham bombing, the Tulsa race riot etc etc, and continued to still move ever slightly forward in human rights progress. We have family members alive today who may have marched or fought very real, extremely risky public fights against racial injustice, and although it feels like we are taking steps backward, in this very short span of time we have very painfully, slowly turned the tides of justice, even if that doesn't seem believable in the thick of it.

Do not forget your magic

Do not forget the allies who are smart, empathetic, and human enough to realize police brutality against people of color isn't an isolated, "race baiting" issue, this is a human rights injustice that affects all of us. Convene with them. We are greater together when lines are bridged, when conversations are had, and where education presides. We do not live in a colorblind society. Colorblindness perpetuates racism. It's an easy way out from dealing with the legacy of racism that this country was built on and still operates under today.

Do. Not. Forget. Your magic. Do not listen to a media that only feeds you adversity without the balance of just how great you are and where you have come from. That tells you if you are a person of color you are part of a monolithic group that is guilty until proven innocent, and inherently (insert negative stereotypes here).

It's scary to think you can be killed at any time by an unfair criminal justice system, based on what you look like, and even scarier that people carry such deeply rooted implicit bias they maintain the status quo by dehumanizing and blaming the victims. But remind yourself of your magic and greatness. Call a friend. Seek inspiration. Create space for your story. Take a mental health day and cry. Stand up for what's right, donate to the cause, sign a petition, join a group. Use your money to economically show where your beliefs lie. Use your vote to remove the people in power who maintain imbalance. Write and share. Educate. Inspire. But do not give up your magic. Please also take care of yourself with self care.

History has shown us the collective power of many people can move mountains. We are stronger, together. We are better, together. We cannot be apathetic. We cannot give up when we come from sources of possibility in the margins and fringes of society. The story isn't over yet.

If you cannot understand this because you don't think this applies to you, you are living in a bubble of false reality. You have the comfort and privilege of ignorance and apathy and silence now, but you will not be able to avoid a society ripped at the seams by not seeing the universality in our experiences. I am human. You are human. You are me and I am you. You cannot avoid this. Our society is an ecosystem that will crumble if many are pushed to the limits of injustice. Have we learned nothing from history?

I'll leave you with two quotes:

"It is necessary for us to harness our own stories and tell them well. If not, then someone else will come in and wallpaper our culture with their stories. And then, how do we pass on to the next generation what has been lost, if not forgotten?" -- Bobette Buster.

"You may write me down in history

with your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise." -- Maya Angelou.