Be brave enough to have conversations that matter.
January 27, 2017
I did not attend any of the Women's Marches this past weekend. I'm sure the experience would have been life changing, but I had some important business to tend to. My baby girl had her First Reconciliation. For all my non-Catholic peeps, this is where she had to confess her sins to a priest and to God. It's a private moment, lasting only a few short minutes but for a 7-year-old it was nerve-wracking. Mama needed to be there to keep her calm. We sat through an hour long service for my kid to confess her sins in less than four seconds. When she was done, I told her to get back on line because I was sure she missed a few things. Any who...hence why the girls and I missed all of the action.
I didn't want the weekend and the efforts of the hundreds of thousands of women to be in vain, so I took Marley to see Hidden Figures. AMAZING (in my Oprah voice). I walked out of there trying to remember what I'd learned years ago in Calculus and Physics thinking "Damn, I missed my calling. If I'd paid attention, I could be at Langley or in Houston right now." Maybe not, but can't a girl dream.
The movie was inspiring and motivating. Marley had a lot of questions and I had a lot to explain. I'm normally not a movie-talker but I had to apologize to my fellow movie- goers more than once. This wasn't your typical, happy-go-lucky kids flick. I took a chance bringing my 9-year-old to a movie such as this, but I was convinced that it was necessary.
It wasn't easy, but I had to suck it up and answer some tough questions. I had to explain, that not to long ago, she, her sisters and her mother would have been treated less than second class citizens and our rights would have been non-existent. She didn't understand that a black woman had to go to court in order to enroll in high school because of segregation, that she could easily be escorted out of a library by security because someone was threatened by the color of her skin, that she could be beaten or arrested for using the wrong water fountain, that mommy purposefully sits in the front of the bus because so many before me protested, marched and went to jail for my right to do so. There were a few moments throughout the film that broke my heart. When Marley looked up at me and asked "Mommy, why does Katherine have to run so far to pee, when the bathroom is right there?", I almost lost it.
Olivia, Taraji and Janelle did an extraordinary job portraying strong black women living during a time when the wrong move could have gotten them killed. Taraji channeled her inner Cookie, full of pain and frustration. As her patience wore thin, she slowly unravelled as she explained why she had to run over a mile and a half to relieve herself because there was no "colored" bathroom for her to use. I cried. I cried for all the men, women and children whose shoulders I stand on. Those who endured hate, disrespect and contempt, so that I could grow to be somebody.
Decades later, the world is not exactly the same, but how much have things really changed? When we have a president who seems to look at every person of color and assume that they live in the ghetto, things haven't changed much. When an African priest, walking though a white neighborhood is called a nigger, threatened with a baseball bat and told to go back to his neighborhood, things haven't changed much. I'm saddened that although they have a modern twist, some things have stayed the same.
I sometimes apologize to my kids, for the world that I've brought them into. They didn't chose this. It's not always pretty but I continue to pray that humanity will prosper so that we will whole heartedly see each other, not for the color of our skin but for the content of our character.