I wrote this last summer, the day this incredible photo of Brooklyn’s Black Trans Lives Matters march was taken.
It’s Black History Month so I thought I’d share it again.
We were leaving our friends’ and couldn’t remember where we’d parked. We stopped at a corner to get our bearings when someone called to me.
“Sir, this is my bike!”
He was 100 feet away, using a power tool to try to get a bicycle off a pole; I’d barely noticed him. But he’d noticed me.
“It’s my bike!”
I was confused, until I realized he was scared. Because he’s black.
In the middle of freeing his bike, which had no tires and had clearly been there for a while, he’d noticed me, tapping at my phone, occasionally glancing in his direction (for my car), and he thought I was a Karen.
He thought I was calling the cops.
He doesn’t know I support BLM. He didn’t see the black square I posted on IG. He just saw an annoyed white guy on his phone and he got nervous. Because he knows that if the cops come, the odds are against him.
My family and I were in our own world, not paying him any attention. But he was paying attention to us. He can’t afford not to.
The amazing crowd in this photo notwithstanding, the protests are fading from the news; the world is moving on. Black people aren’t. Despite the ostentatious support BLM has received, nothing has truly changed.
It won’t until police are held accountable for the men and women they’ve murdered, until communities can stop living in fear that they’ll be victimized instead of assisted, until a guy can try to pry his bike free without being profiled.
You might be thinking: anyone cutting a lock looks suspicious! But in broad daylight in the middle of busy downtown Brooklyn, it didn’t even occur to us.
He wasn’t worried I was calling the cops because he committed a crime. He was worried because if the cops came, THEY might commit one.
Mom and Buried and I drove home feeling sad and ashamed. Not because we did anything wrong, but because so much wrong has been done that until we help set things right, he has no reason to expect anything different.
The work is far from done. #blm #nojusticenopeace✊🏾