OP/ED: Stop! In The Name of Love

By LaNicia Williams, Love Coalition
A couple weeks ago, I got into a discussion centered around a t-shirt my boyfriend was wearing. On the front of the shirt it has a picture of the American flag and says “United We Stand”. On the back of the shirt it says, “If you have a problem standing for our flag, I’ll help you pack”. Several of us had a conversation where some understood why Colin Kaepernick kneeled, while others simply couldn’t understand the “disrespect” of the flag by taking a knee. The first thing I said to my boyfriend after leaving was “sometimes I wish I wasn’t born a black girl.”

Now, Nike is being hated by everyone who hates Colin Kaepernick. Mind you, the majority of people who don’t like Colin have never met him, nor are many of them willing to do a google search and be educated on anything good about Colin. He seems to be USA Public Enemy #1, even though, in my opinion, he’s done nothing wrong. Colin Kaepernick understands what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In the eyes of nationalism or patriotism, it could be understandably hard to see injustice, but just because it isn’t seen, does not mean it doesn’t exist (kind of like mold).
Let’s have an honest conversation about what’s going on; not just in this country, but in Tillamook county. There is an underlying divisiveness which stays buried because we all want to act like our children aren’t being bullied at an alarming rate in our schools. The “N” word isn’t still being used by people, some of which are our neighbors (and it happened to me the same day of the aforementioned conversation). I recently had to explain to a five year old that Mexicans aren’t the only ones who love tacos. And as a forty year old Black woman, I had never heard some of the most derogatory things directed towards me and other people of color since moving to Tillamook county.
I don’t say this to bash our community because I love our community. There are so many wonderful things to love about living here including the people who make up this community. Some people have made it their purpose to show our towns in a negative light because it serves their selfish and demeaning intentions. I only do so to show that we all still have work to do.
It is my hope we can one day turn all this negative energy into something positive, life-giving and life-sustaining. Learning from the amazing inspiration from Dr. King who, because of his message of equality and justice in the name of love was hated by most until after he was assassinated. I say I’ve decided to stick with love, because hate it too great a burden to bear.