Originally published at www.blackmillennials.com.
The feature photo was captured by Tsige Tafesse, a fellow rider.
I struggle to write what Ferguson meant to me. I struggle to feel what Ferguson meant to me. I replay the emotional conversations and cultural exchanges that helped soothe my Blackness into political mobilization. I retell the experience of traveling with Black and Brown activists and professionals to an eager audience of friends and family. And yet, I still have difficulty summing it all into words suitable for a meager blog post.
I am unable to articulate my feelings because my feelings run too deep.
My experience in Ferguson was surreal; even while there, I didn’t truly feel situated. I was floating above, watching down in aerial view as I maneuvered between hundreds of Black and Brown bodies ready and willing to stand for racial justice.
I felt like a visitor within my own family. In Ferguson, surrounded by so much experience, I felt like a novice in Blackness. My Blackness operated under my own agency. Me and Blackness were alone; navigating the mainstream world, solely internalizing frustrations with every microaggression and prejudice thrown our way.
Me and my Blackness had few allies; we were often attacked when we vocalized our racial expressions. Or, we kept our worldview silent, seeing as we did not want to upset or shift the fictional post-racial status quo romanticized in common discourse. Me and my Blackness survived in the shadows; ducking and dodging as we tried to fit into corporate America.
But this weekend in Ferguson, my Blackness was able to breathe. My Blackness was able to stand proud and strong in a conglomerate wave of Blackness that has been developed, fostered, and cultivated for years beyond my own. This weekend, I realized that my sole Blackness had not yet matured as much as I thought it had. My Blackness was fermented in pure anger, with little wherewithal to propel it to social, economic, or political heights.
This weekend, my Blackness was humbled. My Blackness had lived in a netherworld; it was cultural mechanism bridged to theory with inklings of daily reality completely isolated to myself. But in Ferguson, my Blackness became whole as it blended with others and formed into a revolutionary understanding of what it truly means to be Black.
My Blackness was laid bare, vulnerable in its prematurity. My Blackness was ill-defined. After Ferguson, I am better able to understand the depth of Blackness; of how it touches not only into my skin color, but my gender and sexual identity.
My Blackness taught me the love of a Black woman, of how our stories are special and rooted in centuries of societal structure. Of how the journey of a Black woman is the blueprint for survival. My Blackness taught me how to be a better ally for the LGBTQ community. How the needs of queer people of color are supremely unique, and require special finesse and consideration in their handling.
My Blackness, once sick, was healed in Ferguson. My Blackness was shared by the hands of many, who also once suffered from sickened Blackness, but was remedied by years of appropriate education, community organizing, and overall love. My Blackness was revived and made holistic, strengthened by the Blackness of others.