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When I Heard the Children Cry

Updated: Jun 22, 2018

Arte by Celeste Contreras

I hit the stop button when I heard the children cry. I took a deep breath and contemplated whether I should listen to what is called a news story but what is really a documentation of inconsolable violence.

I chose not to.

Instead I shut my phone's screen off, moved to the dining table and continued having my breakfast as I watched my son eat strawberries and yogurt.

What have we become when we have the power to choose when we face reality?

I'd like to think this is a coping mechanism because if we forever faced the horrors this country has performed and continues to perform on the bodies of people of color than we may find ourselves in a state of paralysis.

But whether we look away or look on sometimes, if seeing is not accompanied with an action beyond typing words on a screen then we are paralyzed regardless.

I found the courage to see the images, hear the audio and read the words that are currently enraging thousands of people across the world. I shed genuine tears of sadness, of disgust, of pain like so many of you all did as well. Many of us hold body memories of forced separation passed onto us from our ancestors. Our stomachs turn like our mothers did when their children were torn from their arms on the auction blocks, forced into "Indian schools" and left behind in another country because they wouldn't be allowed into the United States.

Many of us know this pain well because we feel it every day with the murders of our brothers and sons by police and with the imprisonment of our mothers and sisters.

Art by Francis Mead

Maybe we look away so as to attempt to not relive these memories.

But memories are forever alive so long as they are not forgotten.

So even if we look away, the pain of these realities are inescapable.

We all feel it. Our children feel it. The trees feel it. Spirits of the past, present and future feel it.

It manifests into illness- cancer, addiction, abuse, environmental destruction, violence.

We must prevent this illness from spreading and heal the gashes that are being forced open again and again because of ignorance, lack of empathy, selfishness and a power system run on profit and white supremacy.

For many this may begin by not looking away. Trumps momentary position in power has opened the eyes of the colorblind, the comfortable middle class liberals and the melanin-denying assimilationists. That's good. It's a start.

But for the rest, for the wretched of the earth, these heinous acts are repetitions of a history not told in schools. And so it is in the present moment that we must change how we act, what we do for work, how we move from day to day, how we interact with one another, so that we challenge the common, never ending narrative of the weeping black/brown child.

Hold our babies close. Smile with them. Tell them you love them.

Remember their joy is resistance to whats been prescribed.

Sign the petition on to stop tearing families apart.
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