Soon, One Morning.
This is the title of one of my favorite anthologies of African-American writers. It is also the hope that I and many people of color, wake up with every single day.
The hope that this morning is a new beginning. The hope that when I walk out of my door, I will no longer feel the weight; the stress and anxiety as I hope that I can make it through the day without being disrespected, denigrated, disparaged or discriminated against because of the color of my skin. The hope that this morning, others will have their bias and their bigotry in check, so that I do not have to check them, educate them and then console them when they are forced to reconcile the bias and bigotry they have been taught and have benefited from, seemingly unknowingly, all of their lives.
Soon, one morning, an African-American child will leave for school and the parents of that child will not have to agonize over the racism that child must endure from the moment they step outside. Soon, one morning, those parents will not have to worry about someone calling the police on their child or confronting their child, simply for walking down the street with a backpack and a hoodie. Soon, one morning, those parents will not have to worry whether or not that child will make it home safely or fall victim to violence and brutality.
Soon, one morning, a LatinX child will leave for school and that child will not be continually tormented by the words “alien” or “immigrant” and their parents will not have to explain why people keep telling that child to “Go back to your country”, when America is the only country that child has ever known and that child is just as much an American as anyone else.
Soon, one morning, an Indigenous family will see their daughter walk out the door and not have to worry if their daughter will become yet another of the hundreds of Indigenous young ladies that have disappeared from reservations without a trace; never to have their disappearances truly investigated, never to return home to their families, just a child, deprived of the opportunity to live a full life, because to some, that life has less value.
Soon one morning, a Muslim child will leave her home wearing the Hijab and will not have to suffer the indignity of being called a “Terrorist” or a “Sand N——-”. Soon, one morning, her parents will not have to dry her tears because people walk up to her, spit in her face and call her a murderer, when all she is trying to do is walk to the park and play with her friends. Soon one morning, this child will be truly free.
I came to the unfortunate conclusion recently that the morning I always wake up hoping for, will not occur in my lifetime. That is not to say that I am without hope; I am strongly encouraged by the young voices of all races and ethnicities demanding justice. I am also not a quitter; so I rise every morning ready to fight the good fight. I have just realized that the fight is not for me, it is for the generations of youth of color and all youth, to come.
So until my final breath, I will wake up every morning with a focus on advancing racial and social justice; I will wake up every morning with the same hopeful thought, Soon, One Morning.
Marc Perry is Executive Director for Community Action Inc., of Rock and Walworth counties.