Celebrate the Wins
Last week I set a goal for myself. I was able to reach the goal on Friday. In the process of wrapping that up I realized two things:
- Before I moved onto the next thing, as I tend to do, I needed — and deserved — a moment to bask in my achievement.
- I should remind other people who are always on #GrindMode like me to also smell the roses, and remember their greatness.
So that Friday I sketched the Medium piece mentally, which blended the two items above pretty well. Then, to further point #1, I played basketball with my kids, caught up on some relaxing home projects, and reflected a bit on life. It was a great weekend. (It would have been even better had there been a new episode of Lovecraft for me and the Mrs. to enjoy. Withdrawal hasn’t quite settled in yet, but if you catch us re-watching the whole series, don’t be surprised).
My plan was to use Tuesday morning to begin transferring my Medium outline from my head to the computer. But on Monday night Walter Wallace, Jr. was murdered in my hometown.
The Philadelphia police officers who killed Walter Wallace, Jr., and their colleagues, and the system that upholds the legal execution of Black citizens on an all-too-frequent basis will not call Walter Wallace, Jr.’s killing a murder. They will say, and are saying, that they are protecting and serving the community. They will ask us to consider the lives that they saved by taking Walter Wallace, Jr.’s. They will point to the many precedents — the violent people with weapons who harm others. They will highlight how dangerous their job is, and how they put themselves in harm’s way daily for us. And they will likely get to go back to work at some point after whatever internal investigation clears them of any wrongdoing because according to the rules of engagement, nothing was out of the ordinary.
It’s still killing season for Black bodies.
Imagine this: You’re a police officer, working under the current norms of policing. You get a call — a man has a knife and is acting erratically. You show up on the scene. The man is your brother. What do you do?
You know your brother has a history of mental challenges. You’ve seen them manifest themselves in various ways throughout your childhood, and you know, from family conversations, they have recently intensified. You know you just need to talk to him, to get him to settle down. You know just the right things to say. You say those things, without ever having to draw your weapon. Your brother puts the knife down, everyone talks about what happened. If additional help or treatment is needed, it is called in. You are now doing what you normally do on a Wednesday. Your brother got his kids on Zoom for school earlier. I am writing a piece on celebrating wins, and never know the name Walter Wallace, Jr.
In the aftermath of this latest murder, I have learned that not all Philadelphia police officers carry Tasers. I don’t know the price tag for making such an adjustment. Whatever it is, it’s worth more than a Black life.
If you woke up this morning, celebrate the win. If you got to spend time with people you love, celebrate the win. If you are still able to find some sliver of joy in all of the madness, celebrate it, water it, and hope it grows and can be shared. We will need everything to get us to the other side of whatever this is that’s happening now.