It wasn’t the way I thought I would end my kindergarten career…. at home with substitute teachers (mom & dad) and only seeing my friends twice a week (virtually, on Google Meets), but we made it work. And hey, instead of missing out on valuable school lessons, I like to acknowledge the important life skills I gained by being kept home as a result of the pandemic: becoming more independent, overcoming adversity, adjusting to change, practicing patience, taking turns (especially when it came to sharing our limited internet data as we all worked/learned from home), and making Cheeto sandwich lunches for me and sis.
Some would say we survived, but it’s obvious that we actually thrived! …Especially since Cheeto sandwiches are a lost art, not even taught in the classroom these days.
First, the pandemic struck, then Papa passed away, and now we’re learning about the state-sanctioned murder of a Black man named George Floyd, in Minneapolis, just 2.5 hours away from our house. I’m not sure Genesee or I can understand the gravity of this moment, but it feels like an added weight amidst the already-heavy air of the year 2020.
Mom says George couldn’t breathe. She told us his life mattered.
And although this isn’t the first Black man who has died at the hands of police, even with video documentation of such brutality, this moment could become the movement that pushes Black Lives Matter to the consciousness of those who haven’t been paying attention.
Because as cities across the country start to burn down in opposition to the continued legacy of anti-Black violence, we are reminded of Dr. King’s warning: “A riot is the language of the unheard.” And when a global pandemic traps the American people in their homes without the numbing agent of major league sports or the guilty pleasure of mindless entertainment, the news cycle plays on loop a troubled history repeated.