This post is not my story. I tend to have many conversations with people. Some want to give voice to their experiences. Poetic Change exists to shed light on many realities in order to educate, and inspire a broader understanding of humanity. My hope is that this will also inspire those who continue to read this blog to become more self aware. I can't change you , and I can't change others. All I can do is help you change yourself. These are universal rules for all environments. Do you want to get better? Do you want us to grow? These types of stories are tools to help us do so. Change starts with us.
In Tirzah Johnson's own words -
"This has been bothering me for a while.
About a year ago, I was at a party where a girl asked why blacks were being shot by police officers so often. She suggested it was because the people were less educated.
I thought about it and said calmly, “I guess it’s all about perception.”
She gave me a blank look and asked what I meant. “Well, let’s see, how did you benchmark my intelligence? What did you think I was like when I walked into this party and introduced myself to each of you 2 hours ago?”
She got quiet, so I continued, “You knew nothing about me, who I am or where I came from but you knew enough to discern that I was black and that you could ask me this question, right? Guess what you also didn’t know … that I have a degree. I’m here just like you, and I don’t wear a collar that says educated … If a policeman passes the quick judgment to shoot first and ask questions later, it doesn’t matter how educated we are.”
She was a little taken back by it … but I felt I was being honest and the conversation has stuck with me. Even if people think that blacks are more or less educated, that shouldn’t determine the value of our lives.
But you know perception is 9/10 of the law.
My parents’ car broke down two months ago.
I went and picked up my mom while my dad waited for the tow truck. We were on the way back to him and he called saying the police had completely surrounded his car with their guns drawn. I was damn near in tears and my mom kept telling me to calm down.
That fear is real and it hasn’t gone anywhere. I thank God everyday that he’s not a hashtag.
Anyone who knows my father (or how crazy I am about him) knows he is all about the community, doing the right thing, and being involved in shaping the next generation. The definition of phenomenal. In their eyes, they saw a black man, sitting in a car in the dark. I say this to remind you, it is not just the troublemakers, drug dealers, and thugs. These are friends, family members, and neighbors at risk. I don’t hate the police. I just wish that I didn’t have to fear them taking away the people I love without cause.
So to all my friends who believe this is a joke, feel like the black community is overreacting, or believe it is just the ‘thugs.’ There’s much more to the story. This is real, beyond real for me and my family, but it CAN change."
*This post was first published on Tirzah's blog , FLOMM. A link to the original article can be found here
Commited to innovative leadership and institutional change
My name is Kylila (Ka-lee-la) which means beloved. I am one who loves, or at least tries to. I have had many titles, Poet, Photographer, Videographer, Writer, Cadet, Private, Athlete, Leader, Director, etc. I have learned that the greatest successes are born from the most tremendous trials. Everyone has beauty in their life story.