5/31/2020

As a black and Hispanic man, I think about the police a lot. I've always been wary of cops because I know too many stories of black men being harassed, beaten, and killed by cops. I never wanted to become another name, so I was always damn careful around cops. Whenever I drove, I made sure to stay 5 under the speed limit, and to this day, anytime I see a cop in a speed trap, I get a mini-panic attack because I know that if I got stopped, my life could be over in a flash. That's the reason why I don't like driving too much. Anytime I see a cop on the street, I make sure to move real carefully and avoid eye contact. That's why I'm kinda glad I had a lot of white friends growing up. Being mixed, means I tend to blend in with whichever crowd I'm running with.

But that was just worrying and precaution. I remember the first time I had a significant interaction with a cop was last year. I was standing outside a dollar store waiting for my mom to pick me up. And this woman came up to me out of the blue and said "Don't try anything. I may be off duty, but I'm not afraid to shoot." I wanted to say something back. But I couldn't. I knew all too well that if I "tried something", she would pull out her gun and shoot me. So I just stood there. Still. Waiting for my mom to come and rescue me. I didn't mention it to her.

I know that interaction is a lot tamer than most that people have, so I didn't mention it to anyone for a while.  We were going to Quinton Lucas's KC mayoral election watch party. I was ecstatic when we found out he won. When he gave his speech, he made sure to thank the police for all that they do, and hearing him saying that hurt so much. I know why he needed to. It's not exactly easy for a black man to get elected, so you have to make friends where you can. Knowing that made it hurt more.

Flash forward to yesterday, and I saw Mayor Lucas at the protests, and I was reminded of that event. I'm glad he was there. I don't know what the answer to all of this is. But I know that too many black bodies are being threatened and slaughtered on a daily basis. I know this has been going on for far too long. I do know that people need to get coordinated. We need to take this opportunity to coordinate and mobilize the Americans that have joined the cause, and make sure that people don't forget the rage as soon as it becomes convenient to do so. There's enough out there that I don't think I can really provide any new insight or perspective that hasn't already been said. Just go look for resources on things like the BLM movement, donate to causes that seek to liberate and empower BIPOC, and please listen to black and brown folks the next time.