Don’t get it twisted: I wasn’t afraid of backlash or people disagreeing with me. That’s going to happen regardless. During my time as a columnist, I got my fair share of critical emails. It was expected.
What I was truly fearful of was that my words would be received well. As one of the most modest people you will ever meet, I run from spotlight and praise.
In addition, I was afraid of being wrong. I look back on some of the things I wrote in high school and cringe, as I’ve evolved so much as a person since that time.
I kept asking myself: “Will I look back on my columns and cringe at those?”
I couldn’t answer that question, but I knew that I couldn’t not put myself out there to see what happened.
I’m thankful I put myself out there because I learned a lot this year.
I learned that a lot of people simply don’t care about facts and will deny, deny, deny until they’re blue in the face.
You can’t reach them. They have no desire for compromise or community building. Chances are, they are more concerned about what they could potentially lose than finding common ground and equality.
Don’t argue over your personhood with someone who sees it as just politics.
I learned that activism comes in many forms. Activism is what you make it.
Ultimately, the form doesn’t matter, as long as you’re doing something.
If you find something wrong with this city, state, country or world, do something. You don’t have to march, you don’t have to write a column. Vote, go talk with people, stay informed about our current political climate.
Do whatever you can in whatever way you can. But please, don’t try to police other people’s forms of activism. Just don’t.
More than anything, I learned the importance of constantly speaking truth to power.
The goal of Lens of Onyx was always to give a bird’s eye view of the world from the perspective specific to me in this Black body, never compromising or restraining myself or my opinions.
I believe I accomplished that. That’s all I can do. Live and write my truth, as I see it, as accurately as possible.