The Latino mayor of a city just south of me was physically attacked by one of his residents, the man claiming that he wouldn't let the Mayor bring any more of his "kind, illegals" into "his city".
A middle-aged Latina in Colorado was attacked by two white women simply for daring to live in their neighborhood.
An elderly Mexican man, in his early nineties, was violently beaten with a brick by a black woman and several young black men who shouted obscenities at him and told him to, surprise, surprise, "go back to his own country."
And the latest I've heard was a story shared in church a week ago. A young man, who we'll call Manuel, was a leader in his church in Eastern WA, active with the youth. On their way home for a summer missions trip, the youth group stopped at a McDonald’s in Idaho where Manuel was beaten by a White Supremacist to the point of hospitalization. The last I heard, he was still in the hospital and not doing well.
As I hear more of these stories, I find myself wanting to bear witness to them. Growing up, I was well educated by my family on the existence of racism, the dangers of it, but it was always an isolated evil. “Some People” had it, maybe even most white people had it; but we didn’t think of it as something active and present in our day-to-day lives.
And stories like the ones that I just told, didn’t exist. Well, not in the world created for me by my family. They were sensationalist headlines, stories whispered across a kitchen table, isolated events.
But obviously, they aren’t anymore. And these stories need telling. They need to be grieved with shouts and angry tears, and they need to be stopped. I think growing up, no one told these stories because they were afraid of the monsters they contained, and they believed that eventually these monsters would go extinct. But I’m not and I don’t. With the president happily spewing his hateful rhetoric like gasoline on a dumpster fire, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, skin heads, what have you, are boldly attacking POC. And it seems like more than ever, they’re coming after people who look like me.
I don’t live in an active state of fear, but I wonder if sometime soon, I’ll need to. I don’t really worry about my family, but every time I hear stories like the ones I just shared, I think “That could have been someone I love.”
I don’t have a strong, encouraging, rallying message here. I just want these stories to be heard, I want people to be outraged and moved toward action. And that includes me.