The Grand Jury decision is in and I feel an almost physical pain.  A clenching in my chest and prickling in my eyes.  I am weighted to my chair and I can scarcely breathe.

I am White.  I did this.  There is no free pass; no absolution.


I don’t feel like I can simply say that #BlackLivesMatter.   Tonight, as I sit in my despair and in my grief, I feel the urgency to be more specific, more concrete.

Janelle, my wonderful, wonderful friend — your life matters to me.
Kerry’s life matters to me.
Jada & Kya’s lives matter to me.

Reggie, your life matters to me.
Stacy’s life matters to me.
Your kiddos who have grown so tall and grown up since I babysat them way back when… their lives matter to me.

Brenda, I used to admire you from afar and now we labor side by side.  Your life matters to me.  Your family matters to me.

Tony, we met 8 years ago at the Faith & Race class at Quest.  Your life matters to me.
Angela, I was with you & Tony when Isaac was born and it’s a day I will never forget.  Your life matters to me.
Isaac’s life and Eli’s life matter to me.

Derick (Decanter!), my brother-in-law and friend, your life matters to me.

Flea, your life matters to me.
Brian, your life matters to me.  Your beautiful boys matter to me.
Caenisha, your life matters to me.
Elijah, your life matters to me.
Tre, your life matters to me.
Stef, your babies and your husband matter to me.  Sophia, Shiloh, Gabe, George. They matter.
Deborah, your life matters to me.
Ashley, your life matters to me.
Wendi, your life matters to me.
Messiah, your life matters to me.
Chereyce, your life matters to me.
Olivia, your darling kids matter to me.

Mike Brown’s life mattered.

John Crawford‘s life mattered.
Eric Garner‘s life mattered.
Trayvon Martin‘s life mattered.
Oscar Grant‘s life mattered.
Amadou Diallo‘s life mattered.
Sean Bell‘s life mattered.
Jonathan Ferrell‘s life mattered.
Emmit Till‘s life mattered.

Consider with me what it would feel like to think your life didn’t matter; that your children’s lives didn’t matter.  I’ve never really thought about it.  I’ve never had to.  This is Mike Browns’ dad at his funeral.  I’m thinking he gives us a pretty good picture.