I've debated posting this ever since I finished writing it because I didn't feel like I had the proper words or eloquence to discuss this. That said, however, I've decided to post it because I've come to realize that choosing to stay silent about this is like saying I'm okay with what happened and that's just unacceptable.
  1. This is my youngest cousin.
  2. When asked to describe her, the first three words that spring to mind are smart, funny, and fighter.
  3. While kindness is a biggie in our family, we also try our hardest to instill independence and sticking up for oneself, both lessons she's grasping rather quickly if I do say so myself (A Conversation with My Four Year Old Cousin).
  4. At four, the only thing she knows about color are the ones she finds in her crayon box.
  5. And her mom and Doc McStuffins know all.
  6. Fearless should've been her middle name and I swear her favorite word is why because that's how 65% of her sentences start out these days.
  7. "Why is the sky blue?"
  8. "Why is water wet?"
  9. "Why can't I have ice cream before dinner?"
  10. "Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?"
  11. When she grows up she wants to be a doctor and a dancer and a cake maker and a million other things that she rattles off so quickly that I have to remind her to take a breath for fear she'll pass out.
  12. My favorite thing about her, though is that in her world everyone is equal, everyone is all the same.
  13. But that's her world.
  14. In the larger world that booms and zooms around her, children who share her skin color are shot dead while playing on a playground.
  15. And stupid, insignificant things like a broken taillight and CDs and cigarettes have resulted in the deaths of men who look like her dad.
  16. And a monster can sell the weapon he used to coldly murder a teenage boy he was clearly told to stop following.
  17. Not to mention a media that replays these horrific events over and over and over again, sacrificing the victims' humanity in the name of ratings.
  18. That's the kind of fucked up world that booms and zooms around her.
  19. And it breaks my heart and destroys my hope because I don't want her or her sister or any other POC to be harassed or beaten or murdered over the color of their skin.
  20. And yet here we are and here we'll stay until we start using our voices to scream that THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE and refusing to accept anything less than change.
  21. Because in case you didn't know it, black lives matter. They matter so, so MUCH.
  22. 💔