I stood at my desk - reading. Well, not so much reading, as absorbing the details and reaction of the #CharlestonShooting on social media. As I kept scrolling, I felt my eyes welling up. Before I burst into tears, I quickly closed my browser then looked around cautiously to make sure that none of my co-workers noticed me as I struggled to keep it together. I went through the same process throughout the rest of the day. Open Twitterbook, read, weep, close, repeat. I was grieving. Why? I didn’t know any of the victims personally.
But, I did - in the same way that I acknowledge another person of color that I’ve never met before. That is make eye contact and nod head ever so slightly. It’s an acknowledgement that we are in the same struggle together as Black Americans. This shared struggle binds us like the DNA that binds me to my family.
Therefore, when I look at Clementa, Sharonda, Myra, Tywanza, Ethel, Cynthia, Daniel, DePayne, and Susie, I don’t see strangers. I see family. They transform into my mom, my dad, my brother, and my son…all slain because of the rich melanin in their skin. And that transformation makes the senseless loss of their lives so much harder to bear.