Life changes. Rapid developments demand rapid responses. Such is how we got here.
I guess there are many first times that change us forever. This moment was no different. I was asked to speak to a huge crowd of people. I stood and delivered. Repeatedly, I called churches to account with regard to their records on race and involvement in the movement against police brutality. Throughout the night, I followed the leadership of the evening. Towards the end, we were led into a trap. While the leadership kept on marching, we were put in the back of a police van. The movement moved on without us. Until, our mug shots were needed to illustrate the sacrifices that people were making. If a sympathetic local attorney hadn’t helped us, we all would have probably done time. Once I got out, I left Dallas.
Over the years, I have worked with family after family to bring about justice. The details of the cases haunt me. Every situation involved the most marginalized and oppressed people in the community. I don’t care what identity the perpetrator or the victim might be…I demanded justice. Repeatedly, I demanded that leadership get involved in these cases. No…we don’t do undocumented folks…we don’t do homeless folks…we don’t do white folks…we don’t do Transgender folks…we don’t do dr4ug addicts…we don’t do lesbians… The list goes on and on. I became a leader in the movement…not because anybody appointed me…but because I was willing to work on the cases that nobody else would. I always felt like this is what Jesus would have done. Still do…actually. Despite my best efforts at inclusion…people were angry that I was taking all these cases. On multiple occasions…based on threats of violence…I had to leave Dallas.
I was there. Then, I wasn’t. Then, I was back. Those shots will stay with me forever. I had just led thousands of people through the streets of Dallas. There was a beautiful energy in the place. The gun shattered it all. In the distance, I saw the officers go down. Blood ran down the street. Bullets ricocheted. I prepared to be shot at any moment. For multiple days after, I gave interview after interview. I wanted to make sure that the message of love and justice triumphed over the message of hate. The rest of the leadership did not. As their message of division set in, I began to suspect horrible things of those that I had been with earlier that night. The threats started coming in that night… When I was forced to met them viscerally…and was told that my family was in danger…I left Dallas.
The work continued. I marched. I wrote. I spoke. I refused to leave anything in Dallas.
Violence interrupted again. Movement leadership started to be repeatedly accused of domestic violence. I couldn’t sit by as women were getting their asses beat. I stepped in. I knew what the consequences would be. I left Dallas.
I tried to stay involved. Then, I saw innocent people of all races getting brutalized in the streets. Such actions had nothing to do with justice. Such actions had nothing to love. Such actions had nothing to do with Jesus. Regardless of the reason, it was all evil. I had to leave Dallas.
Though I am proud of the over seven years I have given to the struggle…and the many accomplishments that have been made…leaving Dallas was not a hard decision.
In fact, I think it’s the only way I could have made it out alive.