Upside Down

It’s disorienting even though its nothing new.

An unarmed young man is shot dead in the street by a police officer.

A man dies after being grabbed around the neck by police officers, taken down and pinned to the ground.

A boy is in a park with a pellet gun and is shot by a police officer 2 seconds after the officer arrives on the scene.

There will be no trials, at least in the first 2 deaths.

The deaths are justified. He was demon-like. He was obese.

Up is down. Down is up. Cold is warm. Warm is cold. Left is right. Right is left.

I need to be re-oriented.

How do I get closer to what is sacred and to what is true? God’s creation as been gunned down, taken down, shot down. Its all been warranted. The profane swirls around.

Last Sunday night I lay down on a street with hundreds of others. It’s cold. I’m silent. The others around me on the ground are silent too.

People passing us by are not. “Assholes” becomes a chant. “Get a job” is a response. “Don’t call the police next time you’re in trouble” is a piece of advise scornfully given.

Signs read “black lives matter,” “White silence = White consent.” “One nation under God with liberty and justice for all.” “Doing nothing, saying nothing, changes nothing.”

Lying on the ground in the middle of a busy intersection as thousands of sports fan are headed home feels like an appropriate place to be rather than the wrong place to be in a world that is upside down.

By taking to the ground, maybe I can get reoriented to where I should be and not be. I don’t want to be absent from moments and places where people are mourning the loss of life due to racism and where communities of color are looking for others to bear witness with them to what is happening to their children, families, communities.

Mimi Copp Johnson