I was born in 1971 to the most amazing momma. I was raised in a time of relative peace in this country; my mom was not. She knew. She knew the perils of failed leadership and she knew the perils of war. She knew, first hand, of failed rights for humans with skin darker than hers. She lived it all, and then she had babies. I am one of those babies.
As a child I watched her laugh for hours with her friends. I watched her gracefully work two jobs, keep us clean, send us to school, dance with us in the living room, support us, and generally raise us with joy and a sense of hope I will never lose. I am the lucky, lucky girl raised by a beautiful, loving, post Vietnam War, post Jim Crow, amazing mother. A time of peace. She wasn’t just raising kids the best way she knew how; she was happy.
I have had such an easy, blessed, charmed life, as have most of the people I know. Once I mentioned to my son that my biggest concerns for him are the concerns of his choosing. I am a lucky enough mother to worry most about my children’s own choices, not deportation, starvation, disease, hate-crimes, prejudice, or other ugly human-created atrocities. My biggest concerns for my children are their own choices of safety, wisdom, life course, health, productivity, reaching for their dreams and talents, and the like. Also, my concerns (and this goes without saying I think, but I’m saying it anyway) surround random acts of nature, acts of hate, and acts of ignorance, ie: accidents, natural disasters, and increasingly: gun violence, wayward diseases, and war (that’s a new one as of today, January 3, 2020).
War. People KILLING people. People KILLING other people in the name of god or country or oil. Organized, intentional killing.
I know it’s been around for our entire history, and I know it has been happening world-wide for my entire lifetime, but I have not cognitively grappled with it until today. Forgive me for my lack of knowledge. Forgive me for not listening better in history class. Forgive me for just now realizing this to a magnitude that stops me in my tracks and churns me to bits inside.
It’s tough to speak our minds sometimes. It’s uncomfortable. I’m actually really freaking sick of it. But, there is a duty down deep inside of me, born from those happy days of my waitress-two-job-working-dance-with-me-in-the-living-room momma teaching me love during renewed peace, just post Vietnam days. Just post Vietnam and Jim Crow days. She knew. That is the period of time and the world I was born into. I am most fortunate. Unfairly fortunate.
It is my turn to hold a sign and fight. It’s my turn to not turn away from protecting peace and human rights. I can’t shy away. It is simply not an option.
I don’t have answers. I have questions. It seems to me that war is so yestercentury. All of the things that make my skin crawl and my tummy sick are so yestercentury.
Sometimes I want to give up, live my relatively insulated peaceful life, ignore the knowledge, and dance in the living room all night long (which I am known to do). But I owe it to every other human who has held a sign. Every other human who stood brave, especially armed forces fighting for peace; they don’t want war either. They are the ones who most don’t want war. They have mommas and sisters and husbands and children. They have lives. Lives like mine. Lives like yours.
Peace is created. We are autonomous beings.