My family restored my faith in humanity tonight. I’ll get to that later, but first we sat down and ordered. Our waitress came over and took our order and looked like life had just kicked the shit out of her. She was not her normal perky self! I said, “What’s wrong pooky?”
She said, “My home burned down last night…I have eight kids.”
“Eight kids?” Dana asked. “My God that’s my worst nightmare!”
Our waitress let out a big chuckle and walked off.
Dana and I sat with the girls and Kristal. Dana said, “Welcome everyone to our weekly Denny’s Meeting! I’m glad to have you hear this week with us, Aisha!”
Aisha started to laugh and really I was just happy to be there with everyone. I wasn’t my normal self.
With tears in my eyes, I look at my beautiful bi racial nieces as we watch the news in Denny’s. “Girls, what do you think about what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri? Do you understand why people are so mad?”
My niece Alaya is 14. “Yes. They are mad because he was just a boy. People are mad because they think that the police officer that did it should have gotten in trouble. Black lives don’t matter.”
And that was when I lost it.
I look at my 15 year old niece Aisha that isn’t saying that much. Aisha always has a whole lot to say, “Aisha, do you understand why people are protesting?”
Aisha nods her head yes.
“Do you understand why they are protesting?”
“….Well…I understand why they are protesting…but….I don’t understand why they are burning down their own city…”I nod my head yes, “I think that is a very wonderful observation…but for some….burning and tearing that city down is so much more symbolic than just burning and tearing it down. It is tearing down every racial wall that anyone has ever built for you. Anyone that has ever made you feel different or unequal. Tonight is not a racial issue. It is a human rights issue.”
I keep going back to our waitress.Could you imagine your home burning down at the holidays?
Dana and the girls go to the restroom. I set there with Kristal and just stare off into the distance. I start to tear up again. “Shit ain’t ever gonna change Kristal…I’m SO sick of the same shit happening! I don’t know how much my more I can take!”
Kristal half way chuckles, “Maeviss…who you tellin? Just have to sit back and be like Gandhi. Be the change you seek in the world.”
Dana and the girls come back to the table. Our waitress is weighing on both of our minds.Kristal calls over the cook. “Did her house really burn down?” He nods his head yes. Dana asks, “Does she really have eight kids?” He nods his head yes.
Kristal starts whispering in the cooks ear. She hands him her credit card and she keeps whispering in his ear. The cook gets a huge smile on his face.
The girls start smiling too. “Aunt Kristal are you giving that woman money?!?”
Dana says, “I want to help.” She pulls out her wallet.
Aisha and Alaya pull out dollar bills from their pocket. Aisha said, “It isn’t much, but here!”
Three grown men sitting next to us pay their bill. They are mad because they have been waiting for an hour for their food to get there, so they leave even though they have already have paid for their meal!
Their waitress sits their food down. Dana says, :”Cha-Ching! Free food!” She runs over and the girls are so embarrassed they get up and go to the car! Lmao, Dana said, “What?!?! You won’t be so embarrassed when we are eating it for breakfast tomorrow!”
I go home and when I walk in the door I fall to my knees and let out a long cry. My heart is with Ferguson tonight. Trent grabs me.I think about what Kristal said. What Dana said. What my nieces said.
And the only thing that kept playing over in my head was, “Don’t shoot. Don’t shoot.”