The act of testifying forces the testifier to become exposed, vulnerable. To relive, the pain and heartache. To stand before the audience and recount a tragic tale. A tale where Black history is reduced and buried. A tragic tale where 15-year-old Dorothy Counts faced an angry mob of white people to simply go to school. A tragic tale where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin went to get a snack and never returned home. A tragic tale where 7-year-old Aiyana Jones was shot and murdered while sleeping in her grandmother’s house.
This testimony, in particular, required me to reach into the depths of my pain. Trauma that I have come to bury, and unearth, and bury again and again because this work, the work of speaking up and speaking out against oppression and violence and marginalization of the black body never ends. The constant struggle of this work has left me hopeless and tired, but I remember what is at stake.
I will testify again and again and again because I have a dream. A dream where justice is real and true and not merely an idea. I have a dream where absolute freedom is not reserved for those rich enough or white enough but a basic human right. I have a dream that little black girls will grow up proud of who they are and see themselves represented fully. I have a dream where our history, black history, is taught more than one month a year. I have a dream that when little black boys go to school they are loved and encouraged and cherished. I have a dream where black people can grow in old age. A dream where black people are safe. I have a dream where Black Lives Matter.