The only thing I'm currently interested in being as a black lesbian is being free--free from police harassment, free from white supremacy and free from fear-- and yet these seemingly auspicious desires feel like they are slipping away from me with each terrible headline I read.
We have innocent black men, women and children being shot dead in the streets. Black transgender women receiving a life expectancy of roughly 35-years-old. An entire American city whose population is 60% African American poisoned by their governor. Young black women wrongfully incarcerated and then later found dead in their jail cells. Which leaves us having to ask if #BlackLivesMatter in the 21st century.
As a child my parents would tell my sister and I that we could be anything we wanted to be as long as we worked hard, were respectful and thoughtful. The advice they gave us some three decades ago seemed logical; but now runs contrary to our current existence.
Respectability politics won't save us, only the revolution will.
Right now in this very moment we're witnessing white supremacy's last stand and the reaction to this ferocious expression of white rage is awe-inspiring-- it's living unapologetically black.
#NaturalHairDontCare, #MelaninOnFleek, #BlackGirlMagic, #BlackExcellence, #MyBlackIsBeautiful, #PrettyPeriod, #BlackLivesMatter. These are our siren calls, our chants, our unequivocal knowing that our presence, our blackness, our love for each other and ourselves is our resistance.
It's the erasure of brazen blackness that is at the core of white supremacy--it's the aspiration to have us believe that if only we alter our behavior, bow our heads and dim our light than we would be worthy of respect. If only we wouldn't wear a hood in the rain, if only we wouldn't walk in groups, if only we wouldn't play with toy guns (in an open carry state), if only we would respect the right of the police to harass us without just cause... if only, if only, if only, we weren't so black.
Who are we to stand tall, proud, and fierce wrapped in rich melanin? Who do we think are to demand that when innocent black lives are taken their tragedy be met with unabashed justice?
These are the questions that white supremacy asks while arming its self in military gear, launching tear gas, and doing it's best to beat us into submission. To the dismay to of a system that was built to dismantle us by flooding our communities with poor education, housing discrimination, incarceration, drugs and pollution--we continue to rise and thrive.
With each protest, march, sit-in, die-in and hashtag we are refusing to go quietly into the cold dark night. We own our humanity and right to exist in this country, this world, without fear of persecution.
Our celebration of ourselves, our blackness is our liberation.
We deserve a world where little black boys and girls are able to grow up into black men and women. We deserve a world where black parents can let their children play. We deserve a world where the images we see reflect the fullness of the people that we are. We deserve our freedom not because we pull up our pants, or straighten our hair, or emulate whiteness, but because it's our inalienable right.
Until all of us are free, none of us are free. So, what does our black future hold? Our unapologetic and persistent quest for black liberation.
Resistance is our birthright and revolution is in our blood.
Illustration by Ashley Yates
This post is part of the "Black Future Month" series produced by The Huffington Post and Black Lives Matter Network for Black History Month. Each day in February, this series will look at one of 29 different cultural and political issues affecting Black lives, from education to criminal-justice reform. To follow the conversation on Twitter, view #BlackFutureMonth.