On Sadness

This morning, I’m sad.

I’m sad because I heard a woman fall onto the train tracks at the CTA Logan Square Blue Line stop while waiting for my train to carry me to work. I heard her panicked, pain-filled cries of “I can’t move! I can’t move!” and saw the well-prepared, fast-acting CTA employees jump into action to calm her down, signal the next train not to pull all the way into the station, call the paramedics, and chip some ice apart to help sooth her injuries. I mentally gave thanks for fast-acting Good Samaritans who rushed to the edge of the tracks and tossed off their messenger bags without hesitation to see if they could be any help to solve the situation. My heart was heavy from bearing witness to this unfortunate accident, but it felt unbearable weight when I overheard someone on the eventually-crowded platform mumble to someone else that he was “trying to get to work” and “if someone wants to jump on the tracks, that’s fine, but do it at 4am when no one else is commuting.”

I’m sad because, when I emerged from the Blue Line station downtown after an unexpectedly jarring commute, I found myself right next to a ring of Chicago Police Officers surrounding a young black male on his knees, hands zip-tied behind his back, bent over so far that his forehead was almost touching the pavement. His coat had ridden up so his bare lower back was exposed to the -25° F temperature of this Chicago winter, and all the police officers were doing was looking at him objectively and discussing how they would need “a REAL wagon” for this young offender.

I’m sad because I walked into my office this morning and heard a story about one of my most level-headed, service-oriented (and award-winning, for that matter) Posse Scholars who is seen as a model for so many of his peers having the campus police called on him by a university staff member as he and his friends as they played basketball at their own campus’ indoor recreation center. That staff member referred to my Scholar, also a young POC, and his friends as “those people” and insisted that campus safety check all of their student IDs to make sure they “belonged” on campus, an incident that has now happened on multiple occasions to this student and his friends.

People belong where we create space for folks to belong. People who are hurt are the ones who hurt others. People who make the intentional decision NOT to experience a situation outside of their own perspectives, their own needs, their own wants only contribute to the mentality that resources like time, money, power, and possessions are more important than the humanity of their fellow community members and brothers/sisters. How can someone else consider our desires as important if we are not doing the same to normalize such a culture?

I’m sad that Thursday has already been made so heavy by these instances of divisiveness and apathy, and I hope you have the courage to be a different source of energy, compassion, light, and understanding for this world today.

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