Reparation: noun (Dictionary.com).
• the making of amends for wrong or injury done: i.e. reparation for an injustice.
• Usually reparations: compensation in money, material, labor, etc., payable by a defeated country to another country or to an individual for loss suffered during or as a result of war.
• restoration to good condition.
As I sit here battling with my shoulders as they rise toward my ears…
Fighting for a sense of peace, while sitting in what can only be described as a chaotic war against my emotions and strength…
Sipping a smoothie and dreaming of times of smothered chicken, black-eyed peas, collard greens, my mama’s macaroni and cheese, her rolls and her peach cobbler…
I look back in awe and forward with trepidation.
I’m in awe that after 400 years of schemes set up to kill me, I’m still here
How, after having my mother, my grandmother, an only child herself,
Was warned to not have anymore Black babies; she went on to add six
I hesitate to celebrate how marriage is still regarded as sacred in a family where divorce is well-received
I’m anxious because today’s news is nothing new for a bloodline stained with systemic grief.
How did all of this come to be?
I’m a Believer who believes
I’m a Professional with professed and practiced coping skills
And I’m also a Black woman living in America
I have a trauma-infused DNA straining for something, for somewhere, that has consistently been delayed.
I’m the great-great-grandchild of former slaves…
Bill and Amanda Graves
Bill learned to read at the slave master’s kitchen table
Lessons snuck in by the slave master’s wife and son
He learned to read by reading the Bible used to justify his detainment, used to weaponize his beauty black skin.
I’m the great-grandchild of a mulatto
The product of rape perpetrated by the town’s Sherriff and Protector in Chief
There is also the great-great-grandfather who was always free
Ephraim Gayles, father to Rivers; dark, tall, foreboding, and free!
They loved my grandmother, my mother…
I was told had I ever met them; I’d know right away how much they loved me.
When I think of reparations, of making right what’s been said to be wrong
I think of me, my sister, daughter, nieces, and granddaughter to come
I pray that a Black man would produce a love for us
Help heal areas previously unreached
I pray these Black men would touch places fear now resides, these places they’d serve to protect and keep.
I pray my Black brothers and nephews would perceive themselves as the Imago Dei
Understand that within in each of them is a royalty that remains unscathed
I pray they cling to a tenderness that defies an anti-black society, one that will always remain
Hope, Healing, and Honor shall crown them
Love, Grace, and Goodness will surround them.
To modify the bloodline and poise it for the greatness that God intended
To mend up the wounds no longer seen, yet lingers on the surface like a thickened skin
To rectify the wrongs of generational racism and amendments never enforced
To repair the mind so that it, without a doubt, accepts it too is free
To restore to a place of God-ordered glory that is both appreciated and seen.
Reparation – Noun – Person – Place – Idea – Thing!