why I was there


The morning after the L.A. riots in 1992. My father and I spoke on the phone. I heard something in his voice that I didn’t understand. There was a weariness in hs words. It was a weariness of one who has seen all this injustice before. As I watched the news in 2014 and listened to the decision not to try the officer who murdered a young Black man. As I watched the demonstrations turn to riots I felt what 20 years ago I only heard. That same weariness. Instantly Rodney King and L.A. came to my mind, and as I watched the flames in Ferguson grow I remembered the flames of Los Angeles. But When I was a young man I was filled with rage. That night so long ago I said if that’s what it takes for justice then let the city burn, let all the cities burn.

I’m no longer young, I don’t have the energy for rage I once did. I don’t have the faith that even burning all the cities would bring the justice would make change. That is why I marched. Because I’ve seen this all before. I am weary. I want to believe that this country can still change so that my neices and nephews, and my friends’ children will never even feel the spiritual drain I feel, let alone how to fear for their lives from those who should protect them.

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