Why I Won’t Stay at Home (Even if it Scares Me)

I won't stay at home tomorrow, even though I've never joined a protest of any kind, and never marched for a cause, the time has come to protest in peace. #protest #peace #blacklivesmatter #socialjustice #justice #8cantwait #fmfparty

I won’t stay at home tomorrow, even though I’ve never joined a protest of any kind, and never marched for a cause, the time has come to protest in peace.

This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!

I won't stay at home tomorrow, even though I've never joined a protest of any kind, and never marched for a cause, the time has come to protest in peace. #protest #peace #blacklivesmatter #socialjustice #justice #8cantwait #fmfparty

A Lesson I Don’t Want to Teach

“Whatever you do, if the police stop you, remember to act with respect. Stay where you are and don’t run.”

“What if they stop me for no reason,” a student replied. “That’s stupid and why should I respect them?”

“Good question,” I replied. “I don’t have the answer. But I do know that if you value your life, you need to act compliant. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people judge you by the color of your skin.”

“That’s jacked up,” I heard someone mutter under their breath.

“Yes, it’s totally jacked up. It’s not fair that the police will probably never stop me unless I speed or commit some traffic violation. And it’s not fair that they might stop you for any number of random reasons based on the fact that you’re Native.”

We had this difficult discussion one day after the news of a Native woman being shot to death by police in the neighboring community. She suffered from a mental illness and held a pair of child’s scissors. When the police asked her to stop, she walked towards them. The officer felt threatened and immediately fired his weapon.

The events of the past months have only highlighted the pernicious racism woven into the fabric of our lives. Violence of any kind is horrible. But institutionalized violence against Blacks and Native Americans is especially heinous.

To Stay at Home Doesn’t Feel Like an Option

I want to stay at home tomorrow and feel outraged over racism. But I can’t. I can no longer stay home and stay complacent, satisfied that I am not, personally, a racist.

Tomorrow I will put on my mask (because of COVID-19, not because I want to arrive incognito) and join a peaceful protest calling for changes in our law-enforcement system. The #8cantwait movement calls for immediate changes in police department policies as well as training in de-escalation.

Law-abiding citizens should never have to fear a police cruiser or a police officer. Sadly, that fear lodges in the heart non-white people regardless of their socioeconomic status or education.

If police forces adopted these rules, Loreal Tsingine would still be alive. So would George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and thousands of other minorities who have died at the hands of police. And then maybe people like Ahmaud Abrey’s killers and the Central Park jogger wouldn’t feel they have the impunity to warp justice to fit their whims.

I can stay silent no longer. Re-sharing posts on Facebook and fending the racist comments they produce exhausts me. And it’s not enough.

We have our marching orders. What will you do to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly this week? #fmfparty #blacklivesmatter #socialjustice Click To Tweet

So tomorrow I will not stay at home. I will protest peacefully. When I exercise my right to peaceful protest, I show my politicians what I want them to focus on. I want them to focus on justice for all.

As Christians, we have our marching orders:

He has show you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8, New International Version

What will you do to follow orders this week?

I won't stay at home tomorrow, even though I've never joined a protest of any kind, and never marched for a cause, the time has come to protest in peace. #protest #peace #blacklivesmatter #socialjustice #justice #8cantwait #fmfparty

19 Comments

  1. RIP, Santa Monica Music Center

    There was a real nice music store
    just outside LA,
    where kids who could not afford
    it still might learn to play.
    Almost fifty years, they were
    a service to community,
    and ‘stead of profit they preferred
    to give cash back, for unity.
    But on June First the looters came
    and took all that they pleased;
    for them it was all just a game,
    arrested, then released.
    But no one marches, I am guessin’
    for kids now without music lessons.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 761 – The Looter In The Mirror {Five Minute Friday}My Profile

  2. To be honest I am struggling to know how to repsond to all of this. The UK has also had protests and we may not be with you in person but are in soul and standing with you. You and everyone stay safe in your day if action. Your FMF neighbour at #4

    1. Anita, I want to thank you for sharing your heart about systemic racism. I have had several good talks with my kids this week, and your posts have educated me on this topic. I want to open and listening. So, I can teach my children a better way of understanding how to love others who may look, act or think differently than them.

      1. I’m so glad you’ve found them helpful and that you’re having those talks with your children. Words and probing for meaning and asking questions to really understand each other will help break down the walls that separate us.

    2. Thank you, Loretta! I don’t want to be the kind of Christian that remained silent when Hitler started persecuting the Jews. Satan loves to hear us justify our inaction and silence and lack of love.

  3. absolutely! staying is not an option when we are called to act like Christ in a lost and dying world!
    thank you for sharing!
    fmf #14

  4. Thank you for your heart felt response in this post, and completely agree and that we all need to be more proactive in getting our voices heard – “the pen is mightier than the sword” so you are playing your part! Will share your post. BVN Link-up

  5. You are amazing. Believe it or not, I am getting closer to realizing that I can’t stay home much longer either. I have friends standing out there eight days in a row now trying to make a difference. It’s so hard to know the right thing to do. Thank you for stepping out.

  6. You amaze me, friend! I’d love to attend a protest but being in a small community, no opportunities in my community. I’d have to travel to attend one, but I too cannot and will not be silent!

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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