I watch the riots on TV, the faces blurring together. Angry faces. Angry people. I see the tweets. I listen to the news. I hear the stories. I see the hundreds of people broken, crying, pitted against one another.

I was born and raised in a suburb outside of Chicago. I have traveled to the city to see the giant Christmas tree every year since I was little, admiring the colored lights from my daddys shoulders, holding my younger sisters hand, and later snuggling against my boyfriends chest, sipping hot chocolate.

I have strolled down the intersection of Roosevelt and Michigan where the seventeen-year-old boy was shot. I have shopped along that street. Walked barefoot with sunburned toes.

I see, now, the lights being ripped from the Christmas tree. The faces contorted with rage, eyebrows creased, and eyes low. I see the signs lifted in the air, hear the shouts, the angry voices. I see people fighting one another, blaming one another, seeing one another as enemies. It breaks my heart.

I have never believed in race. One of my first best friends was African-American, with her beautiful braided hair and dark chocolate skin that always smelled like vanilla and berries. In middle school, I fell in love with a boy with chocolate-caramel skin and deep brown eyes. Those distinctions of color were nonexistent to me.


Last week, the early morning of December 1, I came across an article on the internet. It was honoring Rosa Parks, and the sixtieth anniversary of her arrest for Civil Disobedience. I clicked on the picture. A beautiful black woman is holding her arrest number: 7053. Her dark eyes stare defiantly into the camera. I admire this woman. The set line of her jaw, the strength in her face. She is beautiful. She is strong. She is brave. She is fearless.

Her world, sadly, is not very different than my world. Except in my world, we are missing men and women like her.

Today I see my people pitted against one another. My peoplewhite, black, Muslim, Asian, Mexican, allfighting, distrusting, angry. I think of Rosa Parks. I think of her on the bus. One woman, standing up for what she believed. I think of her bravery. Of her non-violence. Of her patience, her strength in silence.

As I see the riots, the protests, the hurt and pain across the country and across the world, my heart aches. I can only hope and only pray for my peopleall peopleto see each other as one. One in our schools, in our work places, in our churches, our homes, our streets, and our hearts. See, in our world, #BlackLivesHaveAlwaysMattered. We have just lost this, as anger continues to beget more anger, and perspectives become skewed by frustration and a world of media so willing to make enemies of one another. Today, I can only hope and pray for my people, and myself, to be Rosa Parksbrave, bold, defiant. To stand behind the one thought, the one hashtag that needs to be known: #AllLivesMatter. Always have, always will.

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