This is in honor of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, but also for every black and brown man, woman, and child who has died at the hands of a white person. I hope these words mean something.
After another shooting of a black man or woman, I usually do not respond publicly. I usually do not post on social media. I usually don’t know what to say.
After tragedy like this, I often feel that nothing I can say will make any difference. I am not black. I am white. My whiteness is a shield that protects me. What can I say after another white police officer kills another black man? Another black woman? How can my words posted online change anything? When I know that I will never be the victim of a racial attack in the same way? What can a sad white woman say that will change anything?
But today, I feel that I need to say something. Maybe my words will just vanish into the void, but it is better to say something than to say nothing. I do not want to remain silent to injustice. I do not want my silence to be taken for complicity or agreement with the killers. I will not side with racism and injustice just because I do not know what to say.
To Black and Brown people and all people of color, I am sorry. I am ashamed at the way racism destroys lives of people of color. I am ashamed by the racist, violent history of this country. I am sorry that my privilege comes at your expense. I am ashamed that I do not know what to do to make this stop. I am shocked and stunned that this keeps happening. I am so full of sorrow that another Black soul has been destroyed. I know there is no excuse, no explanation, and nothing I can say that can repair what was done.
All I can do is acknowledge and respect your pain and your humanity. I want you to know that I stand with you and care about you and love you. I want you to know that I am looking for a path to make things right, and that I support your struggle, and that I will do anything I can to stand by you and fight for justice. I want you to know that your lives DO matter. I am not sure if I have the words to say everything that needs to be said, but I will speak. Black people deserve justice. Black lives matter.