I Just Want to Be American

Watching Congressman John Robert Lewis' funeral today restored some of my eclipsing hope about how I am treated as an American. It is so challenging to consistently deal positively with the contradiction of the unwelcome race mat and the I have every right to be here reality of my American existence. Let us not miss the (at least I think) timing of God to focus on an American legend, an American Christian, an American patriot, who lived and died for the fullness of American freedom for brown people like me despite any unjust policy it makes or suppression action it takes against us at a time like this. I think this gives his life the poignant statement-making end a life such as his deserves. I am not ashamed of being American even though America often expresses her shame of me. Like Congressman John Lewis, I too will sing songs of hope and freedom right here in the land of my birth with joy and gladness. It's hard to tell those who are and those who are not in favor of equality for black and brown people. It's hard to tell who secretly harbors hate and thinks him/herself better by virtue of not being born black or brown. But I refuse to adapt hate as a mental, spiritual, or emotional response (even after watching news events). It is amazing that so many people are so intolerant of our need to hurt, to cry, to speak, to protest, to pray, or our need and right to deal with the trauma and fear we've had or still have. It's the same old, "I wish you would just suffer in silence like your slave ancestors did. We don't need to hear your pain out loud." Nothing is worse than the psychological agony felt when an oppressor strikes and then retaliates in anger when you cry. It makes you question everyone you know or thought you knew who is different from you about their sincerity for you… a thought you probably won't have or never had unless you're black or brown. It proves that there is no empathy or understanding for the trauma, the post and present traumatic stress associated with the pain we know and the fear we have, especially for our sons and brothers. But today I am reminded why I hold to the beautiful ideals of Americans like Congressman Lewis and necessarily reminded that my love and patriotic heart for America is meaningful.

Coloring by Angela

I remain steadfast even in the presence of obscured silent haters and hidden supremacists afraid to face their own fears and I will work to please God determined to love them anyway. I am used to being identified and box-checked facelessly as an African-American but some days I just want to be American!!! Thank you Congressman Lewis. May your legacy live on to remind us why we hope, we ensure, we survive, we pray, we vote!

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