As much as we would like to believe we are all in this together, I am compelled to ask if that’s the truth. We are simultaneously experiencing events in vastly different ways. I've spoken to my fiancé, to my family, and a number of my white friends about this topic, and it is as much draining and exhausting as it is motivating and purposeful. Many out there are grappling with these issues for the first time while others have been unceasingly in this fight all their lives. Many close to me do not hold the explicit markers of a racist but rather have the camouflaged, implicit ones. I shared my experience and resources and they have generally been well received. These moments give me hope.
Nevertheless, I'm struggling with this and it hurts right now. Though what hurts the most is that there is NO reason why what happened to Ahmaud, in particular, could not have happened to me. I did unaccompanied runs often in high school. I have continued to do this all over the country and the world because of the nature of my career as a professional athlete. I vividly recall running alone through an unfamiliar neighborhood while staying with a host in South Carolina for a race. Although I had my worries about getting lost, my overwhelming worry was because I was a female and I was black- compounding my fear.
Therein lies my struggle. Where is the root of my pain, being black? Or being a female? Or struggling with my identity in the black community because I talk a certain way, or because my skin is a certain shade, or because my parents don't share my skin color? This is not to say I do not reap benefits from the shade of my skin. But I also bear being disconnected because I am viewed as an outsider to the black community, not sharing in their plight because my skin is lighter, and an outsider to the white community because I am black.
Chris Stiles said:
Angel I am so proud to know you and proud of the women you have become. I attended church and Sunday School with you for many years and saw you grow as a child into a young adult. Because I treat you and other blacks the same as everybody else, I am so unaware of the difficulties you have faced from those who don’t. Thank you for sharing and making me aware. Stay strong my dear and know that you are loved by many!
I cheered for you at Penn Relays over the years while wearing yellow, black and green(Out of Many, One People) outfits and will also cheer for you off the track. I believe a bit of personal discomfort is part of life, so I hold it as an aluminum baton rather than wear it as ankle weights. Thank you my sister.
Ann Oswalt said:
We were friends with your parents when they adopted you. I am sure they radiate with pride in you.! We are proud of the person you are!!! please tell Bob- Jane -Harvey and Carol we send a big hug.
Tom Bradbury said:
Inspiring Angel!!! Be strong and stand for what you believe. Education is the key as nd you have shared a valuable lesson with us here!
Jessica King said:
Thank you so much for sharing, Angel. We are fighting for you.
Susan Perfetti said:
Angel, thank you for sharing your thoughts and perspectives about these “not normal” times. I commit to feeling uncomfortable as I struggle to find the right words and actions to promote change.
This is my niece, I love you Angel, please be careful in the world and one day I wanna meet you and hug you!!!!
Mary Kendall said:
Just wanted to let you know how sorry I am to read about your experience. It’s clear that you are stronger than hate! Living in Fayette county, PA, I 100% understand the Pennsyltucky reference. Our county is often called Fayettenam. Just know that there some good seeds out there among the weeds and we are rooting for you!