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Light Breaks

The Purpose of Darkness is to Help Us See the Light

Here we are, in the midst of a pandemic struggling to find our way in the dark. During the stay at home order, we leaned more into social media platforms and virtual meetings for work and recreation. Watching and sharing more videos has become our primary way of staying current and feeling connected during social distancing. So when the video of George Floyd's murder by a police officer went viral, the world watched in horror.

The pandemic set the perfect stage for everyone to witness racial injustice and respond with outrage.

As we watched another black life be suffocated by hatred, our hearts palpitated with anguish. During a time when black lives are reportedly disproportionately taken by the coronavirus, we are reminded that our American society has been set up to keep us disproportionately at risk - for poverty, incarceration, sickness, and death.

We are wiping our tears of grief and crying out for justice, for transformation, for dismantling the systems infested with racism. We march along the paths our ancestors paved for us to continue a movement towards true equality and equity. We use our art to promote unity and community. We sing our ancestors' songs from the depths of our souls. We demand freedom from fear that our black children will have to fight the same battles our ancestors have, or simply become another hashtag, another dead black body in the streets without justice.

I know we will never be the same after the world heals from this trauma.

Now, we pray and parent with greater intention. We carry the weight of our gaze and our words with a greater sense of responsibility. We love ourselves and each other with more depth and earnestness.

Just as we grieved our social lives, our jobs, our sense of normalcy when the coronavirus spread across the world, we now must let go of every system that has operated as if black lives don't matter. As we ache for the lives lost and press toward change, we can also rejoice. The world is awakening from its ignorant slumber. The darkness of hatred is no longer hidden behind masks of mediocrity and passivity, of injustice and deceit. Before this, the darkness of racism was acceptable while blackness was criminalized.

Not anymore, this is the dawning of a brilliant, more loving world.

As I continue to watch humanity find its way, I shed tears of grief for the lives lost and gratitude for the birthing of a new era. I can't help but sit in wonder of how the darkness is necessary in order for the light to fulfill its purpose. When I reflect on our history (the shared facts and the omitted truths), I observe that the darkest times have been catalysts for the most brilliant revolutions. The death of one way of being births a new age. I've seen it in my own life and I celebrate it now as we all resurrect from the darkest time of my generation into more evolved, more enlightened versions of ourselves.

It seems the best way to defeat the darkness is to join the revolution by shining in your own unique way.


As I wiped my tears of grief that day I heard the news of another death, I turned my pain into poetry -

I Am determined

to always see the Light

peeking through the shadows

of silent cries for mercy




There are souls being snatched

from destiny's intentions 

and sent home too soon

bruised and breathless

And I grieve in the shade

I shed black tears for every 

brown body strangled

by hateful hearts

Evil's knees press on necks 

While saints kneel 

in prayer

We all bleed red,

but only our blood is 

striped across this flag 

and displayed on public platform

The real pandemic 

is fear

and death is a threat

for any black man


with or without a mask

Can you see us?

standing in the light

with our hands up

hearts beating

with love and passion

and muffled anger

We dance

in the storms you create

and our feet

our feet 

are growing weary 

of this wretched beat

Yet I Am determined

to breathe

in this Light

this hope

that this too shall pass 

and justice will wear

an eternal grace for those lives 

that are taken

May we all

be determined

to keep breathing

and speaking

and shining

and crying

and marching

and fighting

and being

and being

and being


- Tifani K, June 2020


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