On #AltonSterling and #PhilandoCastile
By Jaylin Paschal
Another black man killed by police officers. And, as you're wrapping your mind around it, another.
At some point, you just don't know what to say anymore. Even as a writer. Sometimes your well of words just runs dry, and you're left there, speechless, like everyone else in the room.
The difference from you and everyone else in the room, is that everyone else in the room seems to be waiting for you to say something. Everyone seems to want to know what you think; if you'll write something; what you'll post. And all you have to offer is an increased heartbeat and a full sigh. All you have to offer are these tears and this ache.
But, you know you have to say something. It's not in you to remain silent. The fact that people expect you to say something is one thing, and can be ignored. But you expect something of yourself. So you sit at your laptop, journal open. And you stare at a blank screen and a blinking cursor, trying to think of something "good enough" to pen in the name of murdered black men. Something they'd agree with. Something they would stand by. Something that would do them justice. Something that justifies using dead men's names without their permission. Something that doesn't exploit their murders in the name of clickbait. Something that doesn't seem so damn bloodstained. Something that matters, like they mattered--like they still matter.
And It's not like you haven't written pieces like this before. You've written many. They all haunt you a bit and humble you a bit more. It's not that this piece is more difficult, it's just a different kind of difficulty. You sit and grasp at words. You type and delete and type and delete and type and delete and no word seems right. Except, "Enough."
And then you realize, it's not so much what you can say anymore. But what you can do.
RIP Alton Sterling. RIP Philando Castile. RIP Trayvon Martin. RIP Mike Brown. RIP Rekia Boyd. RIP Tamir Rice. RIP John Crawford. RIP Sandra Bland. RIP Oscar Grant. RIP Freddie Gray. RIP Sam Dubose. RIP Walter Scott. RIP Ezell Ford. RIP Sean Bell. RIP _______________.