In a world riddled with violence, intolerance and injustice, we must remain inspired to live a life on the precipice of change and progress.
As a legally blind African-American lesbian, I frequently find myself in awe of how far we’ve come as a nation. My daily activities are considerably less cumbersome in comparison with the challenges faced by blind activists who fought ferociously to secure basic standards of accessibility for all people with disabilities. I now find myself imagining the details of my wedding day, a concept I would’ve never dreamed of 15 years ago as a young girl grappling with my socially stigmatized sexuality. When dealing with discouraging circumstances I reflect on the resilience of Black women who have come before me and am always reinvigorated by their unwavering strength and innumerable sacrifices.
Personally, Black History Month has always been a time to learn, reflect and recommit myself to actively contributing to the creation of a world free of racial discrimination and inequality. Throughout the year I often find myself wedged between waging thoughts about the hope of a nation filled with dreams yet to be realized and the harsh realities of dreams differed by a series of seemingly impenetrable social problems. Perhaps it is this exact internal struggle that has caused me to seek out glimmers of light amid the darkened skies presently hovering above America and our quest to quail simmering racial tensions.
These stormy racial conditions aren’t new or surprising. The struggle to heal America’s racial problems can be seen in nearly every aspect of society. It is evident in the eyes of Black girls who are bombarded with white washed images of beauty that idealize superficial standards of long hair and light skin. It is clear when examining the number of Black men and boys who receive far lengthier jail sentences in comparison with their White counterparts who commit similar crimes. It is apparent in the Department of Justice’s recently released report acknowledging racist patterns and practices within the Ferguson MO police department. It is present at our boarder where unauthorized vigilantes scour the scorched desert with xenophobic zeal.
Nevertheless, I am resolved to believe that hope always resides on the horizon. Dr. King once said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”. As a result, I believe love will continue to conquer hate and prefer to live a life in the light rather than eek out an existence draped in darkness.
Correspondingly, Dr. King was honored last month with a stunning concert performed by DC’s extraordinary Coral Choir. The International Student House provided 10 tickets to the annual Living The Dream, Singing The Dream concert and residents were eager to hear the soulful sounds of this eclectic collection of singers. We were not disappointed. The show was absolutely lovely. As I sat there listening to a cacophony of angelic voices from all walks of life, I was once again reminded that we must continue dreaming of new remedies to racial inequality and awaken with enough courage to make them a reality.