Way back when I was in high school, my homeroom teacher wrote me up on a referral for refusal to stand and say the pledge. I did not believe in the words in the pledge. I could not willingly say "...and justice for all" and mean it. I was about 14 and I knew those words were a lie. They did not extend to me or my people. It is 20 years later and I still feel the same way. As a matter of fact, I am even more sure that those words do not include Black people. How could I? I am alive and conscious and intelligent so I know the truth. After watching Trayvon Martin's killer walk and Michael Brown's killer avoid even an indictment, I am so over it. Malcolm X once said "I'm black first, not interested in being American because America has never been interested in me." This quote speaks to me on such a deep level right now.
That day in my homeroom class, I took a stance. I decided that I wasn't going to say words I did not believe anymore. My teacher made me stand in the hall when the pledge was being said as a punishment. I did not see it that way. I felt it was a victory. By the end of that week, my entire class was in the hallway with me. I remember that she wrote "Kenda knows that she is a leader and that people will follow her. She needs to use that power in a better way." Those words have always stuck with me. I loved that she had such a high opinion of me and that she saw something in me. I believed, then and now, that I was using my power in the correct way. I have never said the pledge since then and I never will. Because I no longer believe. I'm just so tired of seeing Black mothers on tv crying over their slain children. Tired of Black bodies dead in the streets. Tired of white people not seeing past color into the humanity of a person. Just tired. Every day, the world shows us that we as Black people are all we have. It's us versus everybody and that is why I am beyond tired.