I was going to write about about what books I’m thankful for this year being that Thanksgiving is tomorrow, but I can’t seem to get my head in the right place. See, my heart is too hurt. Too hurt about the lack of an indictment for Darren Wilson on top of the shooting of Tamir Rice. Tamir was 12 years old – he’s the same age as a number of my students. In addition to the number of young men who have been gunned down in recent months – they all remind me of my students. They all were young men who had promise, whom were doing nothing but being children – a privilege no longer given to young men of color these days. And it makes my heart hurt and it makes me angry. It makes think about my head strong 4 year old nephew, who while I laugh at the way he says things now, I know that if he were 10 years older, his life could be in danger some day and I hate that! I hate that when I’m feeling down my usual escape is inside a book, but tonight books hold no comfort. For there is no comfort for Mike Brown’s parents and there will be no comfort for Tamir Rice’s parents, nor the hundreds of other parents whose children were killed by police. And so now, all I have is a feeling of helplessness because who do we turn to for help when those who are supposed to help us are the one killing us.
So, I keep asking my self, What am I going to do? How can I help bring change? One of the reasons I became a teacher was to expose young minds to the wider world and help them become thinkers, doers, changers. I keep in touch with a number of my students, so I see I have been successful in that. But I also realized that one person, in one classroom, in one city is not enough and so I joined Rich in Color and decided to start speaking out. Seeing diverse representations is extremely important to me, and I’m honored to have become a part of the discussion, but tonight I am asking myself, what else can I do? Because clearly, if one spends anytime on the Internet, there is a lot of ugliness and ignorance out there, and we need to keep up the fight. We need to keep reaching out, screaming for justice, for representation not just in our books, but in all walks of life.
But since this is a book blog, I think we need to take a moment to revisit Chimamanda Adichie’s TEDTalk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” just to remind ourselves the power books having in changing minds. And then, we need to donate to the We Need Diverse Books Indiegogo campaign (http://igg.me/at/diversebooks/x) , as well as when we buy books for friends and family this holiday season, we buy diversely.
And lastly, take a moment to lick our wounds, grieve injustice, and then jump back into the fight.