Posted in Uncategorized

Mama

Back in 2005, I was awakened at 5 in the morning by a child’s voice and the following piece was created. There are issues with it, like the narrator’s knowledge base is more mature than the voice but I cannot throw out this darling because it is a piece that rings true for me. This piece is about me, as a mom, and how I felt my child saw me in 2005. It is a personal piece, a vulnerable piece, an honest piece.

I loves my mama, but her don’t love me back. She try, she try real hard. But her can’t. Her can’t give ‘way somethin’ her don’t have. Maybe her mama never show her, maybe her daddy never show her. I tries to, but her all about her men. Since I was smaller, she always had a man. And if her didn’t have no man, her try real hard to show us love. But she can’t. Eventually her just give up and go back to lookin’ for ‘nother man. But I loves her all the same. She my mama.

I like to watch as her get ready to go out. She don’t wear much makeup, but she do use some. On them days, she stand in front of the mirror, real close, and put the black stuff on her eyes and around her lips. Then she put on lipstick. My mama so pretty. I only wish her knew it. But she don’t know. You can tell. Anyway, you know she finna go out ’cause she cut on the music and begin to sing. I love to smell her perfume, it be so sweet. She be smellin’ so good. I got a good smellin’ mama.

Sometimes I like to sit in the kitchen and watch her cook. She ain’t no expert, but she try. Sometimes she might bake some brownies or some cupcakes. Them be the days when she act like she love us. I like those days the best. If her and her man argue, she might even take us to the park. I like them days, not ’cause they be arguing, but ’cause we got to go to the park. We be bored sittin’ in the house all the time. She be in her room, we be in ours. Sometimes we watch TV and she come in and watch with us. But that’s only if her man gone or she don’t have no man.

My mama get real sad sometimes. I don’t know why. I don’t unnerstand yet. But you can tell when she sad. She just lay in bed all day. She don’t cook, don’t clean. But she only be like that sometimes. The house get too messy with us kids runnin’ round not havin’ nothin’ to do. Her sad days be the worst days. Them be the days I know her loves us. She just can’t function on them days.

Mens treat my mama bad sometimes. She don’t know that we know, but we be knowin’. One day she had a black eye, and then one day she left us here and left with a man. Well, he took her. She came back, but her wasn’t the same. That was the worst time. She just lay in bed and lay in bed all day. But she began to take interest in us. She walk us to school, tell us have a good day. But then, him came back. Him came back and her began ignorin’ us again. He be gone soon, I know.

My mama need to know a man don’t make her. And when he leave, she gone be sad, real sad ’cause her love him. Her love him a lot. But we love her, and if her ain’t got enough love for herself, we love her enough for her. I loves my mama. I loves her a lot, but you know what? My mama gotta learn to love her too.

Posted in Uncategorized

Independence Day: The Success of Protest

This is an article I wrote for my employer’s newsletter.

Independence Day:  The Success of Protest

By Meka R Brown

On July 4, 1776 delegates from the 13 colonies met and adopted the Declaration of Independence.  This historical event followed the success of the American colonists’ defeat of the British troops in the Revolutionary War.  The war was preceded by several protests over taxation.

In 1765 the Stamp Act was imposed on the American colonies.  Those colonists most affected protested in the streets which sometimes turned into violent riots.  The protests and rioting led to a meeting between those in power and the opposition of the tax and ended with the Stamp Act being repealed in 1766.

The Townshend Acts were a series of taxes imposed on the colonies in 1767.  Taxes were levied on British goods like china, glass, paper, lead and paint.  The colonists decided to boycott the purchase of these goods and protest the taxes by vandalizing stored British goods.  After the Boston Massacre in 1770, most of the Townshend acts were repealed.  Tea was the only exception.

In protest of the tea tax, the colonists refused to purchase British tea and smuggled in Dutch tea, which caused Britain to impose the Tea Act.  This new tea tax caused the protesters to board ships owed by the British East India Company and throw several hundred chests of tea into the water.  This protest known as the Boston Tea Party would be the last protest leading into the Revolutionary War.

Our independence as a nation was built on the power of protest.  Protests have been held for women’s rights, voting rights, civil rights, anti-war, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, immigration, and so many other issues.  During these trying times in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Armaud Arbery, protesting can once again effect change as the protests in the late 1700s did for this country.

Currently our country is in crisis with the Covid-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and loss of jobs, but all is not lost.  Just as our country has prevailed in other times of crisis, it shall prevail this time.  As you celebrate freedom and Independence Day do not hang your head in hopelessness, instead raise your head in hope.  This nation is built on dreams and no matter how hard the struggle or how violent the fight, dreams do come true.

www.history.com

Posted in Uncategorized

My Silence has been complicit

taylor-simpson-5xLiDbduRVo-unsplash

As the world explodes, yet again, I am left feeling uncomfortable in my silence.

I am from St. Louis, MO, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, home to the Arch and the city where the Ferguson Uprising occurred.

During those days in 2014, I held a different view.  I, like many people still do today, focused more on the destruction of property and the looting.  But as time progressed and I began to see the same scenarios being played out over again and again, of black men and women being killed by the police and/or in police custody, my view began to change.

It was Philando Castile’s death, on Facebook Live, that completed my cycle of change.  That day I reached my breaking point.  Listening to him take his last breaths while watching as he leans back, slowly, T-shirt stained with blood, I reached my breaking point.  My chest filled with the weight of that scene and all the others.  My throat closed up around the fist enclosed within it.  I began to sob, uncontrollably, and anyone who knows me, knows I hate to cry.  And although my body was filled with all that pain, I still remained silent.  Deaths continued to occur.  Atatiyanna Jefferson, Botham Jean and the list continued to grow and I remained silent.

Now it’s 2020 and Breonna Taylor was killed, then George Floyd.  Everyone has seen the video.  A man, a black man, lying on his stomach, with a knee in his neck.  Not any knee, but a knee belonging to a police officer.  I hear him repeatedly say, “I can’t breathe.”  Is this Eric Garner all over again?  And the officer remains planted on his neck, hands in his pocket, indifferent to the struggle for air from the man beneath him.  An officer indifferent to taking this man’s life and obviously indifferent to the repercussions his actions would have. And now, I can no longer sit comfortably in my silence.

I have been quiet for too long.  Maybe it’s out of fear.  Obviously out of fear.  I even made a Facebook post about it.  That post states…

“I almost never post about such times as these.  I didn’t want to argue with the “trolls,” whose sole intent and purpose is to say hurtful, hateful and ignorant things.  I was afraid of how I would be seen, of losing friends, and of alienating myself because of my views…my silence has been complicit.

“Now here we are again, yet again and I can no longer stand by silently.  No longer can I worry about arguing or alienating myself or alienating others.  No longer can I worry about losing “so-called” friends or how I will be seen because of my views.  Now it’s time for me…to help my community fight for what has long been denied.”

Today I decided to choose courage.  Today I decided would be the day I make my very first blog post on a blog I’ve had for five years.  Today is the day I feel the fear and do it anyway.

Photo by Taylor Simpson on Unsplash