Josephine Moody said “We want to set the world on fire, we want freedom and justice and a chance to build for ourselves. And if we must set the world on fire… we will, like other men, die for the realization of our dreams.”
We are letting this world burn in front of us. Let it burn. We need to have time to rebuild our community with new expectations and rebuild people who have been only reduced to being called “lazy,” “angry,” or “ugly” by the rest of the world. By our own hometown!
Growing up in Reading, PA, as a Black child, there has always been this distancing that we had from the rest of the community. We all thought that we were the same because we were Black, brown, and poor… but in reality, there was an extra layer of anti-Blackness that our people have felt. We were the forgotten 8% of people in our community. We were not invited into everyone’s home or stores, because of us being Black. Black girls were bullied because of the texture of their hair and their skin color from the same people that they were supposed to call their peers. Black queer children have to deal with family and peers that would rather ignore that part of their identity. Our community is now coming to terms with the fact that they have to do better by us.
Where do we go from here? I would argue that we need to acknowledge the pain that Reading, PA has inflicted on Black people, teach those in power to value our demands, and begin to unlearn this deep-rooted anti-Blackness. No longer can we expect Black people to show up for everyone and not have the same thing reciprocated. Our lives matter.
Marquise Richards, Host of DearRDG Podcast