Op-ed: For Ahmaud Arbery, a prayer for the runner
saying this prayer before I was born and
a prayer I learned from my ancestors and
it’s a prayer
that they learned from their ancestors and
We are not
safe here. We are not safe. Here. But we live here and so what.
you do with that? When you're not safe in a place that you live in?
for your safety. You cry. You mourn.
cry again and you stand up and you figure out how to be safe.
find your allies. The people that look like you. That feel like you.
that remind you of what a home could be.
fight with them and you fight for that home because you know you deserve something more than exists right here in front of us.
I say a
prayer. A prayer that I learned from my ancestors and it’s a prayer that they learned from their ancestors.
that involves a call to action. A prayer that involves my deep desire for respite. A prayer that sometimes reminds me that it’s okay to go numb.
to go numb when you have lived in a place that has sought to kill you. Has only sought to brutalize you. Has only sought to use you. Has only sought to exploit you.
we call America. The United States of America.
And in a
small town in the coastal city of Georgia, there was a young man whose birthday is today.
He was a
to placid. Always reminded that your position of power is past tense.
you look there are reminders to whisper your pain. Survive your torment with eggshell shoes laced up until skin is bruised. And feet are swollen.
did not deserve this.
And I know
that you were praying that same prayer that we were taught by our ancestors. While you ran. And you ran. And I know that you were running because that’s what you do to release stress. You were running to be relieved. You were running for respite, and instead,
you ran right into white supremacists. Or rather they ran into you.
you like they hunted our ancestors. And our ancestors, ancestors.
And so this
prayer, this prayer that I have is for you, Ahmaud.
and your family and every Black person inside of Brunswick, Georgia.
I pray for
you. And I know you pray for me. And I know they pray every single day.
as a collective.
a collective prayer that we got taught from our ancestors and their ancestors.
a collective prayer and that prayer is grounded in the idea and the belief that one day we will be free.
the bondage of white supremacy. Free from the ways it makes us contort ourselves. Free from the ways that it makes us shrink ourselves.
the ways that it makes us run from ourselves.
I know we
will be free. I can feel it. I can smell it. I can see it.
I’m so sorry you do not get to see that freedom.
to every single Black person shot and killed and brutalized by law enforcement, by vigilantes, be the fear and the rage of other human beings that are unable to see us for who we are.
I see us.
I know who
We are beautiful,
survived. We continue to survive. And I will continue to pray. The prayer we were taught by our ancestors and their ancestors.