[Mid-WYFE Testimony] Reactions to the movie Selma: My eyes are wide open

I want to start off this week a little different. I want to testify and share what is on my heart. Please forgive any typos because I didn’t want to go back and change any thoughts or words that came out in this moment.

Last night at 9:36 p.m. I walked out of the movie Selma. As I headed to my car I decided to call my husband to let him know that I was on my way home.

“Hello.”

“Hey sweetie.”

“Hey, what’s going on?”

“Nothing. I’m just leaving the movie.”

“Oh ok. How was it?”

“Um…”

My heart started racing. “It was um…”

My emotions took over and tears started to flow down my face. My hand was shaking as I held the phone. My voice quivered from being speechless. I had to call him back. My strides quicken almost to a sprint as I couldn’t get to my car quick enough. I finally made it to my car within seconds but it felt like minutes. I closed the door and I broke down. My mind raced, overcome by memories from my 31 years, visions of another time and another place, emotions that penetrated souls of people gone but never forgotten.

Earlier that day, I caught a rerun of “Light Girls” on the OWN next work. I made sure to tape the show because I wanted to watch it with my daughters to discuss why being different was one of the best blessings that God ever gave us. I sat there and understood the stories told by fair-skinned black women seeing that I was one of those girls and now one of those women who can attest to the Colorism issue within my own race. Unfortunately, such an issue is not just an African American issue but a worldly issue. The assumption that the whiter the skin the better, when in reality this “betterment” was truly a double-edged sword.

Just another issue to separate the race.

Then I thought back to the riots and protests from the Michael Brown Jr. and Eric Gardner cases, and how quickly some came to judge their own people. “They are just destroying their own neighborhood” some black and white stated. “Animals”, “criminals”, “thugs” were some of the terms thrown out by our own people along with other races. People couldn’t comprehend the underlying anguish that many communities, like Ferguson, endured for decades.

Just another issue to separate the races.

Then I thought back to almost seven years ago when we elected the first black President into office. We, black, white, Native American, Asian, Hispanic and all elected him in. We spoke and believed that change would come to only allow bigots and racist to demean our President. “He’s not an American…let’s see his birth certificate” they said. Newspapers and magazines compared him to monkeys and went even far enough to say he was assisting terrorists based on his skin color and name. They have even gone so far enough to attack the man’s kids…his children.

Just another AMERICAN issue.

I write this post not to tell you to go see Selma but to open your eyes wider, wider than they have ever been before. I’ve watch many momentous films in my life time that have shown these life issues from different perspectives (Malcolm X, American History X, A Time to Kill, School DazeMandela: Long Walk to Freedom and now Selma but oh there are many more) but it wasn’t until last night that I got it. I received the message.

For as much anger that I’ve had toward some white people and anger that I’ve had toward some black people, it has done nothing more but create barriers and distrust toward those others who have done nothing to me. Today as I post this, I want to say I forgive you and I hope you forgive me too. I’m raising three beautiful black girls of different shades and touching many other children as their Godmother, Auntie, big sister and in so many other roles. In order for me to feel successful in raising all my kids I must be willing to break cycles that have hindered me. I must continue to pass along the message that yes we are all different and yes that is perfectly OK. There are good and bad people in the world but you, my child, have the opportunity to choose who you want to be. Not who they want to see. Be beautiful inside and out and let God see you be successful as that is the mission he has placed us on this earth to complete.

Like the movie stated Dr. King was a man, a human being just like the rest of us. As human beings let’s continue on this path together and pray that one day our kids will be able to live in humbleness and pride that those who lost their lives to any injustices, whether it was based on race, religion, or even sexual preference, did so in order for them to be able to truly leave their lives as God intended them to; Together and with love.

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Thank you for reading and God bless you!

DNC

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