It is week 22 in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge. This week’s writing prompt, Uncertain, is an appropriate adjective to describe these past few months. The world is turning topsy-turvy. Amid pandemic, prejudice, and protests live unease, unrest, and uncertainty.
For days, I have tried to focus on genealogy and write about the past, but the present, so chaotic and psychotic, has kept me in the here and now. So instead of writing about our ancestors this week, I will instead highlight the lives and experiences of the living…
Even though people are dying by the thousands, too many others are throwing down the gauntlet and throwing caution and their masks to the wind. Like irresponsible teenagers convinced of their own invincibility, these people may be risking their lives and the lives of those around them.
Meanwhile, systemic racism, ever-present in American society since the first indigenous people’s land was stolen and the first enslaved Africans stepped off the ship more than 400 years ago, has been raising its fearsome head with increasing frequency. Many white Americans are being forced to take off their blinders and witness the reality of racism and are sickened by what they are seeing.
Too many black men and women are dying at the hands of those who are charged to protect and serve. One woman was woken from a sound sleep to be shot eight times; she died without ever knowing why. A young man out for a jog was gunned down in the street by two self-appointed vigilantes. Another man was slowly asphyxiated by the boot of oppression pressing down on his throat, all the while pleading, “I can’t breathe.” Men, women, and children of color are being suppressed by women wrapped in white privilege and perceived superiority who use the police to enforce their own rights while denying those of others.
Angered to a breaking point, many people of color and their white allies have taken to the streets in protest of senseless killings and rampant racism. While most of the protests have been peaceful, there have been tear-gassed clashes between some police and protestors. Anarchists are wreaking chaos and destruction on businesses and communities. Looters abound. And known white supremacist groups, intent on negating the Black Lives Matter movement and the reason for their protests, are inciting violence and organizing countermarches across the county.
Oh yes, these are uncertain times. Heaven, help us all with what things may come…