Processing…

Lauren Herman

I wanted to share one of my journals from this past week. I wrote this the morning after we watched “Fruitvale Station” and lamented over the tragedies that happened this past week.

July 8, 2016

Last night we watched “Fruitvale Station,” which is about Oscar Grant’s life and his death. At the very beginning is the raw footage of Oscar Grant’s murder and at the end is the reenactment.

I’m really good at running away from pain. Well at least I like to think I am. Maybe I’m not good at it at all, but I still do it. A lot. And I do it by compartmentalizing everything. If I do that, then I can just put it all away. I can close the lid and put the box away. This only works for a little while though. I must stack my boxes because they always seem to fall over and explode open.

I compartmentalize every Black person who is killed by a police officer. I don’t want to feel the pain. I don’t want to open myself up to those feelings because I can’t do anything to fix it. And the fact that I can compartmentalize these tragedies is privilege. I have the privilege to accept these murders for a short period of time, and then to put them away. I have the privilege to move on if I want to.

At the end of the movie, I couldn’t put it away. At least not right away. I saw Oscar Grant’s daughter. I saw his girlfriend, his mom, his sister, his friends and other family members. How does any of that make sense? He had a daughter! His life wasn’t the only one that ended that day. Every person his life tangled with is now drastically changed. They can’t compartmentalize his death. They can’t just put it away and then take it out when they want to. How do I even begin to start to process not just Oscar Grant’s death, but everyone else’s? I don’t know how to begin to process it. And it’s easier for me not to. I mean why would I chose to live that pain, sadness, and hopelessness. If I start to process this, I have to feel that. It’s not going to make sense. I’m going to feel powerless. I know that that is where God comes in. I know that he is strength, power, hope. I know that his plan is greater. That for some reason all these deaths are apart of his plan, but I’ve been struggling. I know that God can fix this. I know that he has the power to. But I’m lacking the faith that he actually will. And I’m sorry for that.

So if I begin to process this, I have to open myself up to all of the pain, the confusion, the hurt, anger, and hopelessness. And once I let myself break that way, I have to trust that God will do something to bring His creation back to its original purpose.

To my Black brothers and sisters, I’m sorry that for me to even have a choice is a reality. And I’m sorry that I’ve let you do this alone.

I think I’ve already started processing this. I pray for my apathy to end. I pray that God works in me. I pray that I am able to willfully give up the power that for some reason I believe I possess. I pray for God’s plan to be carried out. I pray for forgiveness.

Lauren Herman

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