For the past few weeks, I have been struggling to come up with the right thing to say about Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown. Yesterday, I realized that I would never have the right thing to say, because my perspective is not the one that most urgently needs to be heard.
Yesterday afternoon, a group of thirty students and staff from my school gathered together to share stories. I work at a high school in Cleveland with a majority of African-American students, and these recent events of police violence matter deeply to many of them (as they should to all of us). We called the event All Stories Matter, based off the popular Twitter hashtags #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter.
As we sat together in the dimly lit chapel, students and faculty members stood in front of each other and shared their stories. Stories of pain, confusion, hurt. Stories about watching friends get shot or almost shot. Stories about being made to feel less-than. Stories about anger and frustration. Stories about not knowing what to do.
These are the stories we need to hear. These are the stories of children on the brink of adulthood who are fed up with the way the world sees them, and who are determined to make things different.
Here are their stories. May we learn from them.
Please read them here.