Following the death of George Floyd and the nationwide and local Black Lives Matter protests, we asked several members of our Harrisburg community if they would like to share their personal stories.
Joy in Justice.
It’s 2:12 a.m. My eyes pop open, and my heart begins to race. I immediately begin to think about all the things I must do. I start putting everything in order. Walk the dogs. Shower. Get to work. Attend meetings. Hopefully eat lunch. Answer emails. Make phone calls. Mentor my staff. It’s only 2:15 a.m. The other side of my mind is trying to remind me to…Calm down. Breathe. Go back to sleep.
But what about George Floyd? It’s okay, you can think about that later. But what about Breonna Taylor? It’s extremely sad. She was asleep in her own bed. But what about Shaleek Moss? Sigh. 2016 seems so long ago. Did we fight hard enough for him? And don’t forget all the work that you must do in the community! My mind races on.
This has been my life for a long while. But the persistent anxiety has never been more present and visceral than in the last few weeks. There is so much work to do in the community and so much that goes undone.
But during this resurgence of terror, pain and struggle—there is hope. As I continue my community work, I remember.
Working in this community gives me life. Keeps me sane. Brings me peace. And strangely fosters a sense of joy. It’s a joy that is rooted in the hope for a better future, and the hope of equitable life experiences for all people. It’s the hope that, as I am lifting up Black voices, Black struggles and Black experiences, that we elevate the conversation. That we lift up society. Because when we lift up Black lives, we lift up all lives.
When we lift up Black lives, we lift up all lives. The joy this refrain brings fills my heart and calms me down. I go back to sleep and rest to fight another day.
There is Joy in Justice.
Dr. Kimeka Campbell is co-founder of Harrisburg Young Professionals of Color.