It’s time to listen. Evansville Living has and always will be a platform to celebrate the good things about our city, but right now the best use of our platform is to amplify the voices that can speak directly to the black experience in our country, city, and community. Starting today, we will be giving our platform over to several community members who will share their experiences so that we can learn and grow together. Our role, and what we’re also asking of you, is simply to listen.
In the summer of 2019 I started rolling a tire in honor of my father to raise awareness for cancer, to live by my own example as a pillar of health, and to serve my community by engaging in conversation with people I meet.
Most people will read this and feel motivated, empowered, or curious about what is now called the Keep Rolling Campaign. As an African American, this story cannot exist solely as beautiful, because it exists with a parallel of the embedded racism I experience on a daily basis.
The first time I was stopped by the police the officer asked me the same question several times, becoming increasingly disrespectful as I answered. He told me it was “stupid.” He eventually said to go home and stay out of the street with no explanation as to why. The second time the officer questioned me and found my endeavor “not meaningful.” The third time I was asked to show my identification. My experiences are a combination of what could be considered “bad” and “good.” The fourth time the officer asked to take a picture with me. The fifth time the officer handed me a Gatorade through the window.
People want my perspective and experience on racism. What I really want to tell you is I wish for us all to take ownership of our health, to do research, to live with the courage to be daring, and challenge ourselves to be our best selves. In my community, we are a melting pot with people of all colors — people who are disenfranchised, forgotten, overlooked. We have to learn for ourselves, because we know that no one is going to do it for us. I challenge you to think about your personal mission and how you will better yourself to impact the community we all live in, together.