I love living in Korea. The decision to move came partially from wanting to live overseas and partially from wanting peace in my life. My people were getting shot left and right. And no, we didn't know them. But we could have. It could have been us. It could have been you. It could have been me. In a position of not being able to make any real change, I chose peace. So that maybe I wouldn't have to be so overwhelmed by the systematic oppression of my people. I was reminded of that last night when an encounter, if it occurred in America, could have ended horribly...
I had just arrived home after a long day at work. I had rushed from work to the commissary and finally home, simply relieved that it was Friday night and I could finally relax. With my arms heavy with groceries, I took the elevator up rather than walking one flight of stairs. Even though I am technically on the first floor, I am #2 on the elevator; I absentmindedly hit #3. I proceed to put in the code and it did not open. No problem, I've entered the wrong code on my door plenty of times. So I re-enter it, going slowly this time to make sure I don't make a mistake. Except this time, it didn't go through. I start to panic, like, who would've broken into my home and changed the code really? So I begin again and as I do, a Korean woman bursts out the door saying "who is this!?" I'm in utter shock and assuming maybe my realtor went in my house to do something. As I am about to ask her who she is and why she is in my place, her American husband comes behind her and calmly says "oh, you have the wrong door." That's when I turn and look at the elevator and see I am on the 3rd floor, not the 2nd.
In America, someone probably would've been shot. And in 2019, there wouldn't of been a safe side of the door to be on. In a split second, things could go so wrong. In America, things are going so wrong. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that his "four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Botham Jean might've had a dream that he could live in his own home and not be shot. The mother of Tamir Rice could've had a dream that he would be able to live to see his 13th birthday. Trayvon Martin might've dreamed of enjoying his bag of skittles once he got to the crib. Eric Garner's cause of death should have been due to cigarette smoking, not police brutality. And Michael Brown, a Ferguson native whose story brought so many others to our consciousness, should have been given a chance.
Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. And so many of us have this hope that today won't be the day that we get that phone call too. That maybe his dream would be true on any given day when our black brothers, fathers, cousins, nephews; and the black women who lift them up; mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and girlfriends can walk outside, live in their home, drive a car, go to a gas station, sleep, wait in a Starbucks, breathe, exist...and not be shot. Come home alive. And be free at last.