Black Lives Matter

Self-care when our world is falling apart

I’m writing this while in my bathrobe. It’s 4:00 in the afternoon. If it weren’t for my 3 year-old, I would not have eaten today. I feel hollow and empty. I’ve cried more tears over the last 24 hours than I have this year.

If you’re reading this blog post from somewhere outside of the United States, let me debrief you. In less than 24 hours, two African-American men were brutally murdered by the police. Their murders were captured on video and shared all over the world. Their families are devastated. And black people are reminded of how our lives don’t matter.

I spoke with my brother earlier today. I told him how I feel numb and unable to process yet another death at the hands of those that have sworn to serve and protect all citizens. His response, “they have been killing us for years’. Black Lives Matter

They have been killing us for years.

They have been killing us for years.

They have been killing us for years.

Slavery. Jim Crow. Lynchings.

They have been killing us for years.

My grandparents were sharecroppers in the South. My mom tells the story of when a gang of white men came to her home and dragged my grandfather out of his home, tied him to a tree and beat him. They beat him until he was unconscious. My mom and grandma watched from the window. My mom, a little girl, screamed and struggled to break free from my grandma to go save her dad. My grandma held her back to keep her safe. After the men had gone, they went out to my grandpa to check if he was still alive. They untied him and carried him inside to tend to his wounds.

They have been killing us for years.

They have been killing us for years.

They have been killing us for years.

Alton Sterling was murdered by the police. Philander Castille was murdered by the police.

As a black person in America, we are not free. We are subject to be searched without a warrant, detained without cause and murdered with no consequence.

They have been killing us for years.

They have been killing us for years.

They have been killing us for years.

I’m an optimist. However, I can’t help but feel a certain type of hopelessness. On the one hand, I will take my daughter to the park today. We’ll read stories and we’ll play games in which I’ll tickle her until she can’t take it anymore. But as I look at her brown skin, I know that she will learn all too soon that ALL LIVES DON”T MATTER.

In Oakland where I live, we have literally watched our police department disintegrate under corruption, abuse, lies and scandal. But it’s not just Oakland. It’s St. Paul, St. Louis, Baton Rouge.

It’s not just the police. It is schools that fail us, companies that abuse us, a culture that exploits us. It’s water that is poisoned with lead and given to our children to drink. It refineries that burn and pollute our air causing our children’s eyes and lungs to burn. They can’t breathe.

I can’t breathe.

I can’t breathe.

I can’t breathe.

Those were Eric Garner’s last words. He was murdered by police two years ago.

Breathe and let the tears fall. Breathe and feel the rage. Breathe and witness the suffering. Breathe and then demand justice. Breathe. Just breathe.

If you’ve follow me on social media, you know that I’ve been participating in a 22-day pushup challenge to bring awareness to the fact that 22 American veterans commit suicide every day. With little to no access to mental health services, veterans have no tools or support to cope with the trauma they experienced. If you follow me on social media, you also know that I teach a class at San Quentin prison as part of the Prison Yoga Project. In 2016 there are more African-Americans in prison or “under the watch” of the justice system than were enslaved in the United States in 1850. Prison is a traumatic experience; the men in my class have witnessed trauma from the time they were children. But the cool thing is that the guys feel better after yoga— not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. That’s was a carefully crafted yoga practice can do. Yoga can be a way for us to safely feel our emotions and develop the resolve to respond appropriately.

Feel the anger. Feel the rage. Let that fuel us in dismantling a system that has oppressed us, used us, killed us.

I will roll out my mat now. I will lie on it and cry. I will rest in child’s pose and cry some more.

There is much work to be done. But we need to be strong, resilient and focused. Take care of ourselves to take care of each other.

Reprinted from http://justjasmineblog.com/

Reprinted from http://justjasmineblog.com/