I came of age during a time of tears and hope.
Tears - when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and I saw his funeral on the black and white television in my parents bedroom. Hope - when my family moved into a newly-platted Jacksonville subdivision, sent me to an integrated elementary school and, years later, saw me admitted to the University of Florida during the halcyon days of affirmative action, of first
Black quarterbacks, first Black homecoming queens, and first times that Black people could shine our light in spaces that weren't designed for us, and in a system designed to either dull our light or snuff it out altogether.
But that light, personified in the ultimate achievement of Barack Obama as the nation's first Black president, exposed the overt and systemic racism that once relegated us to America's dark edges; to the places where our brilliance or our ambitions or our rights wouldn't
inconvenience those white people who, well, see Black people as interlopers and not as equals.
That's what we saw at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The white people who rioted there, egged on by Donald Trump and abetted by members of Congress who couldn't accept that Black people
could muster the agency and ambition to elect Joe Biden as president, were fighters in a war that constantly forces Black people to think and politick defensively; to know that our survival and the quality of our lives has been
a political bargaining chip since we landed on these shores in 1619.
And we're back to that time that alternately colored and tainted my American existence. One of tears, hope and white supremacy terror.