As a child, it’s all I ever knew…
Faces like mine with names like mine in houses like mine.
History lessons that I never thought to question.
Leadership that I trusted.
Movies and television that told familiar stories.
Advertisements that appealed to me.
News reports that seemed normal.
A feeling of safety in my own community.
A sense of caution when venturing out.
And then I entered into adulthood…
The world became bigger, but it was still the same.
Friends, neighbors, and colleagues looked like me.
I didn’t feel compelled to try new things…
Not out of spite, but simply out of routine.
Same food and culture.
Same hobbies and interests.
Same travel and exploration.
Same network of like people.
Same blindness to what lay beyond.
But then the world changed and my eyes opened…
And I felt it all.
How did I not see the injustice and exclusion?
Why was it suddenly so obvious and real?
And why doesn’t everybody see what I see?
My heart is hurting and I am ready to act.
But I am afraid.
I feel heavy with guilt.
I feel nervous to speak.
I feel culpable and complicit.
But my intentions are pure.
I don’t seek attention or praise.
I don’t wish to cause frustration or pain.
I don’t want to be a burden.
I know that I must forge my own path beside you.
I want to lend my voice to yours.
I hope that you will allow me that privilege.
I pray that you will feel my authenticity.
And I beg your forgiveness.
It’s all I’ve ever known. But now I know better.