Five years old, sitting on the kitchen table, like every morning.
My mom, curling my hair. The sun shining in the back window. The smell of hairspray and coffee.
“Why does she live far away?”
“Because they bus her to your school, honey.”
“You mean she rides the bus to school?”
“Yes, but from a different part of the city.”
“I think it’s because schools in other parts of town might not be as good, honey.”
I didn’t know when we played ‘house’ in first grade that she was from another part of town. I knew I couldn’t walk to her house to play after school and on the weekends. And that she was black.
Mostly, I felt she was just like me.
“…schools on the other side of town might not be as good…”
SCHOOLS ENDING CHAPTER IN U.S. DESEGREGATION SAGA
Published: June 10, 1981
In South Bend, Ind., a city that boasts of being ”the first Northern school district to enter into a voluntary desegregation plan,” school officials say their plan will desegregate the schools ”now and theoretically forever.”
The South Bend plan is not without its critics. White parents have sued, saying the plan is too sweeping, and black civil rights activists have sued, saying it places an unfair burden on minority students.
“Twenty seven years after the United States Supreme Court struck down racial segregation in schools, communities are still caught in confusion and dissension over how best to end it.”
I don’t know how it ends.
Another thirty-five years later.
My girls on their bike ride on our country road. I let them go by themselves to get a taste of some of the freedom I had at their age.
The young man who lives down the road from us, driving his truck at fifty miles per hour.
This is the time I worry about my girls’ safety.
Mothers who have to worry every time her child leaves the house.
The color of his skin.
Too many stories of others.
Thirty five years later.
Sixty five years later.
Two hundred years later.
When will it end?
Mothers in arms.
I stand with you.
Your child is my child.
I worry when he leaves, too.
I cannot say I know how you feel.
But I will no longer let my silence be misunderstood as indifference.
I stand with you. I stand with love. And I will not be quiet.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
*Quote – Elie Wiesel