Juneteenth 2020, Raleigh, North Carolina
You had to be there to understand that it wasn’t the lachrymator that made it difficult to see. Or the crowd that made it hard to breathe. It was the shock; the realization that your weight had now been taken by the voice of others. It was the masked faces gathering to see your stiff body collide with Hargett Street like a city bell. It was the flashing lights of phones and the night sky reflecting the street lamps. It was the hot air and the cheers entering the land and the pores in our skin marrying with the yelling around us. It was standing in the face of pigs and chanting like the greatest choir, we were a band. And you, once a Confederate soldier, became again a used, dead instrument. It was the summer’s heat fighting against us but failing to see that our vision would not bleed or melt. It was the sigh we were able to let out knowing that your fall was the beginning of our rise.