Kala Gibson, MORTAR Board Chair
Photo credit: Allen Woods for Kelli Camille Films
The hardest thing I had to do this week was to explain to my sons why they are hated so much by certain people, and how their skin color will be weaponized against them. No parent should be forced to have such a conversation with their children.
Consider this truth-filled quote…
“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” – James Baldwin
We are seeing this rage manifest itself across the country as a result of the death of George Floyd and a pandemic that is effecting black and brown people at a disproportionate rate. But let’s be clear that this rage was not created a few days or a few months ago. It has been simmering for centuries as the result of enslavement, Jim Crow, unfair housing, redlining, lack of healthcare, mass incarceration, and police brutality.
I too have this rage. It’s behind a smile and mild professional demeanor, but it is there. It at times feels like an anchor around my neck, that will eventually take me under, but I fight daily to stay afloat. I very much understand the ramifications big and small if that rage were to consume my being. It is that rage that has driven me to dedicate my life to financial equality and justice for people of color.
In addition to this rage, there is also a fair amount of fear. Not a paralyzing fear that prevents some folks from living their lives or pursuing their dreams, but just enough to be another anchor around my neck. The fear that I carry every day of someone hurting me or my two black sons because of their skin color.
The fear that they could become another name added with Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery can be overwhelming at times.
My heart is heavy and I’m deeply saddened over the recent events, but I continue to have hope and faith in our country. I believe this is our defining moment. This is the moment we say enough is enough! This is the moment we stand against injustice and inequality.
Together, we can combat institutional racism and discrimination. Through love, respect, grace, and empathy, all things are possible. Join me in this fight!!
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.