Monday, May 23

Waking Up Black Today in Columbus

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Waking up today felt a bit harder. Getting out of bed even more so. There were three things that keep whirling in my head today as I did everything I could to ground:

  1. There is an automatic camera start when gun shots are fired, 60 second delay, but it’s automatic. Coy didn’t even turn it on.
  2. Casey’s funeral is today. No hashtag because it’s amongst other thoughts, but this point is a stand alone point.
  3. They are going to release more footage where we watch a black man die in front of us. Again. Today, after the funeral.
Trying to wrap my head around all of it and not brace, but bracing is the norm. Prepared for fallout, trauma responses and collective grief and rage is the norm. Making room within myself for all of this complexity to exist.
Right now it’s heaviness and sadness. This shows up as slower moving (slow feet), neutral or blank expression, irritation, lack of appetite, foggy brain, forgetfulness, fatigue, headaches, amongst other things. Black people if you are experiencing this today, of course you are. Be gentle with each other, be gentle with yourselves. 🤎🖤✊🏾
My Black body car sits to find peace.
Debrief from the day.
My neighborhood is mostly Black people.
Who mind their business.
They car sit too.
We glance at each other and exchange nods.
Heavy with whatever we came from.
Clear that this is relief.
Today reminded me.
Nowhere is safe for this Black body.
Not even private property.
Cause Black existence is suspicious.
And the police don’t care to turn on their camera.
Cause we all know.
They know.
We know.
The streets aren’t safe for us.
Our cars.
Nor our garages or our friends’ garages.
They are not safe because of police that watch Black bodies take their last breath and don’t lift a finger to save a life they prematurely ended.
We are often told to protest, move, be, grieve, live in anguish…
Now it’s down the street.
In your neighborhood.
Was it quiet enough then?
What to do with a recurring nightmare in our own backyards?

About Author

Karen Marie is committed to doing the work of building connection, belonging, and community. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Karen is currently a resident of Columbus, Ohio. Ze is a non-negotiable stand for the most marginalized and the dignity and value of every human life. Her professional reach is vast and includes competency and expertise in Human Resources, Executive Leadership Coaching, Anti-Racism Facilitation, Poetry, Writing, Music, Comedy, and overall performance. Karen is seen as a necessary contribution at various community tables and conversations and is both celebrated and respected for her ability to be strategic in navigating difficult and nuanced conversations and barriers in a brave and productive way. Karen is also a published author, creative, and musician. Ze is a 2020 recipient of the Create Columbus Visionary Award, a 2021 Cohort Poet in Scott Woods’ Rhapsody and Refrain, and an ensemble member in Counterfeit Madison’s Aretha Franklin Tribute; which performed in front of a sold out Lincoln Theatre in February 2020. In 2019, Karen self- published hir first book of poetry, "Grounded"; and is excited to release "Fire: Poetic Memoirs of a Movement" in Autumn 2021. Currently, Karen is the Associate Director for Leadership Columbus and also a facilitator and curator with K Hewitt Consulting. Karen is also the co-founder of The Ohio REST Collective. The Ohio REST Collective (Restorative Equity through Sustainable Transformation) was founded to create space for individual and collective restoration. Karen Marie is a founding Board member of The Buckeye Flame.

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