The following is a Facebook post written by my friend Curtis Johnson. I am re-posting here with his permission. Some of you may know him for his tireless campaign work in Ohio five years ago or his intensity as he coached and played left field for a Capitol Hill staff softball league team. He is the Founder and Executive Director of About Phace.
It is with a heavy heart I say to you, America, I am not the enemy.
I am your son, I am your brother, I will be a father, I am your friend. I am not the enemy. I am not sent here from another planet. While I may on occasion look physically imposing, I am not here to hurt you. I am not here to commit any crime violent or otherwise against you or my fellow citizens.
When you clutch your purse when I pass, I hurt. When your taxis pass me up with cash in my hand, I hurt. When you attempt to interpret my rationale and my emotions when I am fully capable of doing myself, I hurt. I hurt because I can't ask those who are, for lack of a better term intimidated by my mere presence, why? Why do I scare you? I have to, for a fleeting second, wonder what is wrong with me.
My heart is heavy because I naively believe that I can be judged by the content of my character as opposed to the color of my skin. I'll admit, my education and professional advancement has definitely afforded me more latitude, but I know it could've been different. I know it could've gone a different way. I wonder, if it had where would I be?
My heart is heavy because I know that so many of my brothers have not had the same breaks or made different choices and the consequences are dire. Despite my heavy heart, America, I will continue to work to make myself better. I will work to make YOU better. I will continue to fight to cash the check you owe. The check Dr. King said you owe to ALL of your citizens that gives us "upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice."
I am not the enemy. To the contrary I am your son, I am your brother, I am your friend.