Heather Ricks

Storytelling and Facilitating
Feeeeeeelings

Feeeeeeelings

I am angry. I’m angry that I have to hear hate speech coming through the walls I find sanctuary in on this November night. I’m angry that people think that an election going in their favor means they can display racism for all to see. I’m angry that people don’t listen when others share their stories. I’m angry that my own bubble of my disadvantages in life have made me blind to some of the ones others face. I’m angry that until now it has felt so other to me that I haven’t known how to help or fix it, afraid that me trying to speak out would be seen as a white savior complex. I’m angry that all I’ve wanted to do since about 7 pm tonight has alternated between punching someone, escape into comedy, and cry on a cycle.

My heart is broken. I feel heartbroken for the people who are so scared right now. I feel heartbroken that I don’t know how to help outside of words and the volunteering I’m already doing for now. I feel heartbroken that it feels like my voice will be drowned out because even though my skin is the right color my gender is not. I’m heartbroken that I have to worry if my friends will be safe walking to their car tonight after we are done hanging out. My heart breaks for every person who didn’t feel heard or like the government cared about them that led to this small minority of hateful people becoming so vocal so fast. My heart breaks for the fact that they are blamed along with these people for the violence and pain that that group is causing. My heart breaks that there are so many victims of this hate, and that victim blaming is reaching so many en masse.

I am grateful. I’m grateful that I went to Urbana this year where the focus was story, hearing others, and learning to share our own. I’m grateful that I have a strong support system in my life. I’m grateful that I can speak long and vigorously for others, and that I know I can make a change for the better in our community. I’m grateful that I have had the privilege to be heard in a world where racism was always a thing that happened “there not here” for the most part. I’m grateful to have friends who are not the problem. I’m grateful to be exposed to people who push me to see new points of view and different experiences through their own eyes. I’m grateful that I can see things clearer than even a year ago, and that a fire has been lit in me for change.

I am determined. I’m determined to make this community better. I’m determined to make a safe space for people who need it. I’m determined to run for local office as soon as I can. I am determined to speak up for those who can’t, no matter who they are. I’m determined that this hate will not last.

Tonight I’m mourning for the pain I see around me, but soon the fight will kick in. It won’t look like protesting or Facebook posts, thought it most likely will involve more writing. So many people have fought for my freedoms in so many ways; my husband who fights to give me confidence and voice through love, my parents who fought for me to have a better start than they did, the women who fought for my right to vote, the men who have served in our military though US history… Veteran’s Day is the perfect day for this outrage to come to a boil and create realization. Realization that supporting from afar out of fear of hurting those I want to defend is not enough. Realization that fear of being seen as a person who has fair skin trying to save the world doesn’t matter when the world is beginning to burn around you. I no longer want to be an ally, I want to fight alongside my brothers and sisters.

I am a woman who was raised to influence the world around me, and fear or hate will not hold that back.

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