As I sat, puzzled and bewildered by yet another killing of an African-American male, I tried to calm myself and think of how many there had been. My mind kept remembering the names and the faces. When I got to eight, my brain said that is enough. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight — that was enough. We all know that there have been far more than eight. It is enough. It is too much. It is too many. Nothing about our current times is normal. We are in a perfect storm created by crises, circumstances, injustice, and inequality. Normalizing the murder of black men must stop. We are not naïve to the dog whistles, innuendos, and historical phrases like “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” We are obligated to call out hatred when we hear it.

It is time that America polishes the mirror and looks at the reflection of what has become. How did we get here? Four hundred years of oppression. Slavery. Jim Crow. Bloody Sunday. Selma. Watts. Black Wall Street. Edmund Pettus Bridge. Trayvon Martin, Jordan Edwards, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, George Floyd. It goes on and on. We are disproportionately jailed, far too many are plagued by homelessness and low income. We own less property and less businesses. We are more likely to die from Covid 19 and a host of other diseases. We process trauma daily. We are tired. We recall how our ancestors were enslaved, demoralized, and murdered. There are sleepless nights, nightmares and fear as to what could happen to any of us at any moment. Enough is enough. Let us not repeat the same situations over and over and over. We can’t heal if the trauma continues to occur.

The civil unrest of the 1960’s was a full sixty years ago. We should be better by now. We could be better. We must be valued and heard and loved. We can stand up for ourselves, but you can stand with us. As some wonder why so many are taking to the streets to yell, scream, cry, sing, and demand justice — know that the pot has boiled over. It simmered too long, but we are not helpless. We can act.

1. When you see injustice, report it.

2. When it is time to vote, research and make an informed decision. Vote for those with a history of advocating for the disenfranchised, those that know the value and dignity of having access to a living wage, affordable healthcare, and a safe community.

3. Be active in the educational process. Attend meetings. Volunteer. Ensure that instruction is rigorous and relevant. Advocate for more business, finance, and STEM courses. Support history courses that highlight the contributions of all of us.

4. Make an effort to form a relationship with someone who does not look like you. Listen. Have dialogue. When we take the time to genuinely learn about each other, we begin to understand circumstances and actions that occur. We can begin to problem solve together.

5. Donate, volunteer and promote organizations that focus on anti-racism, equality, justice, and humanitarianism.

Enough is enough. Exhale. Reflect. Act. Take a positive action is the right direction.

T.R.Y. Life learner, mother, daughter, poet, teacher, rights crusader. Always on a mission.