Erika Roberts is a creative force. With words written and spoken, she brings power to her art using her strongest tools: language and love. In this new blog takeover series, Erika not only gives us a look into what it’s like to be a collaborator forced to work from a distance during a global pandemic, but she’ll also introduce the GHC team through the lens of the shutdown later in the series.
Welcome back. I am thankful for you finding the time to read my words.
Today is what is celebrated by many African Americans (especially in the southern states) as truly the end of physical slavery in these United States. It is the day that the last of the slaves in Texas were set free.
I wonder what that day was like. Was it just another “run of the mill”, ordinary, Monday.
Had they been expecting some news?
The south fought long and hard to keep it’s way of life. In 1863, slavery was abolished but…not all of us were free.
In 1937, freed slave Pierce Harper spoke of how the freedmen celebrated that night. They cried, danced and sang. They were jubilant in their “new” freedom.
I wonder if they were immediately excited or if they were immediately afraid. As they returned to their quarters, what would they pack to take with them? Would they leave?
As I approached this week’s blog entry I am weighted with how freedom looks so different these days.
Yes, I can walk and travel (safely masked) around as I see fit but there is a different freedom that I seek. We have been quarantined, and social distancing for months. We have been trapped behind masks. We have been choking from the racial climate in our country. There is a different freedom that is desired.
As a proud black woman, I recognize that I am NOT truly free from hatred based on my color and socioeconomic status. As a black woman I am NOT free from having to work twice as hard as my white friends in order to be heard or seen. As a black woman, I am not free from worrying about how much space I will take up in conversation.
The world was on pause in our homes and felt the intense pain when George Floyd called for his deceased mother. Black and white mothers heard that call intimately. We heard him. The freedom that he wanted was different. He wanted to pull in air to fill his lungs. He wanted to live.
We want our way of life back (it’s not coming back). We want to be free and able to hug without fear. That’s a different type of liberation. I don’t want to be scared when someone coughs. I don’t want to be afraid of a covid-19 vaccine.
Over these last months of quarantine we wrestled with the reopening of spaces and there is still a fear around those gatherings. We have been putting our lives at risk as we march in protest and stand in solidarity. We have passionately done this because the freedom we seek is 400 years old. There isn’t a space on this planet that doesn’t understand freedom especially as we battle these 2 pandemics.
It is hard for mE to write about coping with quarantine when so many things are happening within this bubble. How are WE (you and I) coping with this unrest in our nation?
We are here in this place of pause watching the breaking of laws.
Losses and lynching
Bitter soundbites from the greedy.
When what is really needed is not being heeded. The streets are heated with the footsteps of plenty. Chants of freedom.
Tears of despair and sweat from future labor.
These blogs are pure excerpts from a place deep within my soul. My heart bleeds ink.
I write here in this moment sincerely hoping that someone hears this and understands.
Your time is valued and for your presence I am thankful.
See you next week…same place my words will be here.