No One Should Have to Ignore Their Grief, Yet It’s Long Been Expected of People of Color
For our communities, those missing and murdered, caged and dying, are not distant examples, invisible, or forgotten. They are our family and friends.
Despite living in New York—the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in the US—much of my weekday morning routine is the same as it was before: I wake to an alarm, snooze for fifteen minutes, exercise, meditate, read a poem, shower, and dress. I eat eggs on toast and drink coffee. But instead of a ten-minute walk to the subway and forty minutes or so on the A and F trains, my commute has been reduced to just nine steps—from my kitchen table to my home office.
the current moment. This crisis, is laying bare inequities. the work of social justice organizations is more urgent than ever
TheNew York Times
We tried to tell youI am sorry you now know how this feels.
in thecurrent moment,
leave it at the doorI am trying to understand.
Nadia Owusu’s first book, Aftershocks, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2021. She is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her lyric essay chapbook, So Devilish a Fire, won the Atlas Review chapbook series. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Washington Post’s The Lily, the Literary Review, Electric Literature, Catapult, and others. Owusu grew up in Rome, Addis Ababa, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Kumasi, and London. She is an Associate Director at Living Cities, an economic racial justice organization, and lives in Brooklyn.
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When I search for my father, I feel his numbers. Here’s a house number on my friend’s street that mimics the first few digits of my father’s phone. Here, at the 7/11, my receipt totals the amount of the last four digits of his SSN.
Being good at working hard felt like a tired routine. Being polite was starting to grate.