Her name is Dalit.
She is 12 years old and her childhood has been spent been within a blockade. She has only known life amongst the rubble and the sounds of bombs in the distance. She want to become a teacher but the only education she has gotten is letters chalked amongst the only wall that remains of her school. With only 2 hours of electricity a day, her water is contaminated by sewage, the hospitals have become morgues and she is cut from a world that doesn’t know she exists.
She is Palestinian. Lost amongst talks of Hamas, brutalized by the military, labeled a terrorist and all over a dispute about land hidden by the cloak of religion. Know one will know she dances amongst the rubble clinging to what little of her childhood she can.
His name was Aaron.
He was 45, a father and a volunteer at his church. Like others in his community he often fit the profile. He was heavily penalized for petty crimes and had more interactions with the police then with mentors and teachers, only because of his zip code and the color of his skin.
He was black. Labeled a criminal before he was able to get out of the car. Never able to get out of the car. The last thing he saw was an airbag in his face. The last thing he felt was 4 bullets in his back, shot from the guns of police. Police scared of a man, just in an accident, pulled over while driving black in his own neighborhood. His fear lost amongst his criminal record. Their fear justifying his murder. Know one will know what happened that night and his name will get lost amongst a sea of hashtags, that each embody a family forever changed.
Her name is Crystal.
She is 26 and never felt like herself as a child, for her assigned gender was male and the name David made her soul disappear into her darkness. The first time she was recognized as her true self, she felt the weight of the world release from her shoulders. The second time was shrouded in fists and heels of boots.
She is trans. Labeled an abomination and told god hates her for being herself. She wants nothing more than to be the woman her heart proclaims, but the danger becomes so unbearable she sometimes fantasizes for the restart brought on my death. So she can come back and have her body match her heart. Know one knows all she wants is to go unnoticed and live her life with a person that sees her for who she really is.
My name is Tatjana.
I am 39 years old and because I speak of ending the apartheid in Gaza and ending the Deadly Exchange between out police and the Israeli military, I am labeled anti-semitic and a conspiracy theorist. Because I believe Black Lives Matter, fight for black liberation and stand in solidarity with the Muslim community, I am labeled a terrorist sympathizer and said to be unpatriotic. As a queer woman of color in love with a person that lives outside the gender binary, I am labeled an outcast and a heathen by some members of my family… but here I stand, fully in my truth.
I believe every human deserves to live with dignity. I want people to know that I am mother. I am a writer. I believe in love. I stand proudly in the shadows of my ancestors and by the teachings of Bayard Rustin. I believe in speaking truth despite the threat of those in power. Now let me ask you… who’s truth do you believe?