Leslie BurkeComment

Wow. America.

Leslie BurkeComment
Wow. America.

I tried to pretend that I was not concerned with the election. I had no inkling that Trump may actually win. To avoid jury duty and since I don't have a driver's license, I have never registered to vote. I am aware of how ignorant that sounds. However, I live in NY and this state has not given their electoral votes to a Republican candidate since I was legal to vote. I know my history. I cry at the thought of what others went through for these rights. They are just that - rights. Women have the right to have kids or not, people have the right to vote or not, people in some states have the right to smoke weed or not

I couldn't sleep last night and woke up at 4am to the sad news. Frenchie's phone was ringing through the night with the French sending us condolences. I giggle at the thought of them voting for Sarkozy and think they have their own issues to worry about. He has been more upset than me. Asking me "Have you discussed with your friends? What do they say?" It's the same shock he had after we visited the African American Museum and he asked me "Were you as moved as I?" My ex work husband, a white, above middle class, married man living in Westchester also called me asking "What the hell happened last night?" I try to remind these white men in my life who I consider empathetic with my experience that this is no shock. I remind my white love that I live in my skin daily and am reminded subtly or overtly how I am not welcome or I am fortunate to occupy some of the privileges spaces I have during my life.

Whoever is the president doesn't change my own fight. I am struggling to reclaim my independence through my career. I struggle to remind myself that my fancy degrees don't define me. I struggle to remember that my privelaged lifestyle comes at a cost and is a blessing. I make a habit to remember that heaven or hell exist in my mind. If I allow myself to be pulled into the sorrow of remembering the history of my ancestors when I've visited the slave ports or Charleston, Brazil or France my mind will always be in hell. Every day I decide to instead remember that I am a child of God. He is the Commander in Chief of my experience. I survived more than one Bush presidency. I survived a Reagan administration intent on making sure low income, black girls like me didn't get the chance to trade on the floor of Merrill Lynch, sit in meetings at work with Anna Wintour, graduate with an advanced degree, and see over 30 countries. I wake up every day and remember "I am the dream and the hope of the slave.".