I remember I was 12. It was 5am. Still pitch dark outside. I was with my grandmother, an activist and human rights advocate, in Harlem where we resided and where she lived most of her life. She was driving me to the airport. I remember it as clear as day. I was wearing the only suit I owned; an ugly, oversized 3-piece beige hand-me-down suit my father gave me. It came with a vest made for a 30 year old man and had a floral pattern which looked like something you would find in a home show room. I was thrilled to be flying for the first time and on my own at that. My grandmother wanted me to have money for my trip, so we made a stop at a bank. She told me to take out cash from the ATM as she waited in the car, and so I did as I was instructed. When I came out of the bank, I walked toward the car to give her the money and out of nowhere, two cop cars sped over to the back and side of my grandmother’s car, sirens blaring and lights blasting in the darkness. They ran out of their cars, threw me against the car, yanked my arms behind my back, and put me in handcuffs. My grandmother jumped out of her car as she screamed, “Take your hands off my grandson!” Dazed at what she said to them, they slowly took off the hand cuffs and told her that they had no idea. My grandmother is white.
… And the darker you are, the more stereotypically black you look, the more you’re criminalized against …
This is one experience that I, and countless others have had to endure. And the darker you are, the more stereotypically black you look, the more you’re criminalized against. One day in high school while attending my weekly ‘Students Embracing Culture’ meeting, I remembered hearing students saying it’s unfair what we have to endure. However, one student, when asked how he feels, proudly proclaimed, “I love being black!” He said he loves every experience that he has to go through with being black, even the negative, because they give him unique experiences and a perspective on life that most will never come to understand. I agree. I work to uplift myself and others. … But systemic racism is not an option. It is not a choice. It is a fact. And the fact is, it is dimming the light on those who have the potential to shine. #BlackLivesMatter … I have accepted this challenge and will do so until the day I die. And that’s a choice. We all have a choice with what we make of our own lives. But systemic racism is not an option. It is not a choice. It is a fact. And the fact is, it is dimming the light on those who have the potential to shine. #BlackLivesMatter
Guest Contribution By: Chris Rustin
DRINK DU NUIT: Black Crowning Glory
1 oz Crown Royal Black Whiskey
1/2 oz Dr. McGullicuddy’s Peach Schnapps
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Club Soda
GLASSWARE: 10 -12 oz Old Fashioned Glass or Coupe
Combine Whiskey, Schnapps and Orange juice in a shaker over ice. Strain into your ice filled glass and top with club soda.
To elevate this cocktail, consider a few drops of bitter to add complexity and deep to this drink. (Not all crowns shine the same)
Drink Well! and Remember:
“[T]he most difficult part of the fight is not taking aim at the enemy, but rejecting his definition of you.”
― Azar Nafisi, The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books
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