To My Friends of Color,
I am sorry.
I am sorry you now live in fear.
Fear that your husbands, brothers, fathers and sons may not come home tonight because of some action that is misconstrued by another.
Fear that you might also be pulled over and harassed, jailed or hurt, based not on your behavior, but some false assumption.
Fear that your child’s hoodie might lead someone to believe he is a criminal.
Fear that your husband’s temper might set off an officer with too little patience and too much power.
I hate that the color of your skin means you have to worry that your loved ones may be hurt by the people who are supposed to protect them.
And I hate that you think I don’t care because I’m not screaming about it from the rooftops…or declaring my outrage on Facebook.
I don’t want you to think I care more about the attack on Paris, or which sex can use a bathroom, than I do about you and your loved ones who now feel like targets because of the color of their skin.
You want to know why I’m not saying SOMETHING.
And you are right. You deserve to know where I stand.
I’m sorry I’ve been too quiet while you’ve been waiting for my outrage.
Please don’t interpret this quiet as being ok in any way with what I’m seeing around me.
I’ve been trying to be respectful. I can’t claim to know how it feels. But I do know it’s wrong.
I’m taking this all in, trying to understand how we have come to be in the ugly place that feels more like America 50 years ago than the America I thought we lived in today…the America I saw, where the color of our skin was like the color of our eyes or our hair. Just something that makes us all unique.
And I’m confused.
We have a black President. Or African American President.
I don’t even know what the right term is to say here. But I do know I saw his election as a sign of progress. That this country finally understood anyone could be anything.
So how is it possible that eight years later, so many innocent black men are being murdered?
How is it my friends of color are now MORE afraid for their families? How is it I am afraid for their families, because I am?
How can this be in MY America?
I know my letter here is not going to make a difference…not the kind of difference that will spare you the sleepless night while your husband is still working, or the endless worry while your son is out with friends.
But I hope it brings you comfort to know I AM with you. I AM angry. I AM sad. And I want this to change. I don’t know how to make it happen, but I know you shouldn’t have to doubt where I stand when you see me.
I stand with you. I believe black lives matter. I can’t fathom how anyone could see it any other way.
I am outraged and I am sorry.