By LaRuelist Report Guest Writer
I keep trying to find my place. When I stood in the front of the line, I was told that it was not my place. People like me can’t be in the front because we are not worthy, ready or good enough to be first. When I moved to the back, my vision, opportunities and access were blocked by all the obstacles placed in my path. I saw no way forward. I felt stuck, hindered, blindsided and hopeless.
I keep trying to find my place. When I walked into the room, the first thing I did was search to find someone like me. I moved about cautiously, trying not to stumble, push, or make too much noise. The stares were piercing, curious and unwelcoming. Clearly, I was not supposed to be there. I stood alone, feeling pinned against a wall of excitement that I finally made it, and the need to keep moving, so I didn’t become paralyzed by the fear I felt. Finally, I saw a smile. I heard a hello, and eventually the questions would come. Eventually, I got the nod, the wink, and I felt safe. I could finally move about comfortably. I was there for so long alone until I almost thought that I was one of them. But then something changed. I walked into the room, and to my surprise there was someone else, our eyes met, I smiled, and recognized the look. It was the same scene being played over again, and that’s when I realized that I wasn’t accepted, I was safe and unthreatening, because I was “one”, but everyone after me, was going to raise the threat level.
In 2018, we are still talking about the “one”, who had to set the line straight, and prepare the room for all of those behind them. When will there be more than “the one” or comfortable two in the line, in the room, at the table? When will they not fear us, and when will we stop celebrating the “one,” as though we have arrived? Martin had the dream. I am still trying to wake from the nightmare, and find my place!
Sunny Slaughter is nationally and internationally recognized subject matter expert and public health policy strategist with a focus on human trafficking and intersecting human rights, social justice and civil issues. www.sunnyslaughter.com