I logged into an old email account yesterday by accident and stumbled upon an email my boyfriend wrote to me while I was in Honduras. “I hope all is well,” it started off. “Pretty crazy week here in America. Have you been getting the same barrage of news down there? I could imagine it seems like the U.S. is falling apart from down there. But all is well for the most part.”
I didn’t know what he was referring to so I looked it up. 04/21/13. Google told me that this was around the time of the Boston Marathon bombing. The irony that he was calming me down, telling me that everything was fine in America was illuminating.
The past week has been a rough one for us all. A few Mondays ago, I was able to see a friend who flew in from California briefly. My friends and I got together to pick up brie and salad makings and wine after work. We proceeded to sit in my backyard underneath a blue sky, picking at the food, talking about the Stanford case, gentrification, and the spike in shootings that have come with summer. It felt necessary to vent, to move inside when the sun had set and continue talking it over.
Then Sunday morning came. I quickly learned that it was Latin night at Pulse; the club was divided into separate rooms playing salsa, merengue, bachata, and reggaeton. The news of the shooting hurt for many reasons. Oddly enough it hurt me as a dancer. It hurt as it does when you expand your community and learn to know other places of refuge.
I have been reading a lot about individual action lately and whether or not it can attempt to address the societal woes that plague us, namely segregated communities and the violence it maintains. I could paraphrase the articles that have stayed with me but that wouldn't be doing the work justice so instead, I’ll just highly recommend Nikole Hannah-Jones' piece about segregation in New York City and Josh Michtom’s advice regarding gentrification and the futility of individual action in general.
These articles remind me that there are answers out there. Not easy ones, but I'm okay with that.