Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

‘My heart is heavy’

Joy Clark, an administrator with University of Redlands Admissions, wrote these thoughts in response to President Ralph W. Kuncl’s June 1 letter to the community and has given permission to the Bulldog Blog to share her moving message.

Good evening, President Kuncl:

First, let me say thank you for your heartfelt words, and call to action in your email, “No More Inhumanity.” As an African American woman, the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd have been so much to digest, and yet another unarmed black man, David McAtee was killed by law enforcement officers in Louisville, Kentucky, as he fed peaceful protestors.  

I am a black woman, a wife of a black man, and a mother of a black boy, and two black daughters, and every day I pray for the protection and safety of both my husband, my son, and my daughters. My son is now entering the age where he's no longer the cute little boy; he’s growing so he's 13 and almost 6 feet. I have to constantly talk to my son to make sure that he complies and does everything he is supposed to do, so that in case he is stopped by an officer because he looks like a perpetrator, which he doesn't, he can at least make it home for us to fight for him. Now, I have the same conversation with my daughters, because historically, we’ve always had to prepare our sons, but, as seen in the case of Sandra Bland, none of us are safe. For African Americans as a whole, it is duck season. 

I am tired of my people being killed by these racists. I have a friend who is a sheriff who recently posted about the rioting in 1992 in our own areas, and he made a very profound statement—he said that “when he saw signs in stores that read ‘Black owned,’ they were not touched. The things that the rioters were destroying was everything that did not look like them or that they did not feel a part of. They burned everything that was a representation of them being treated unequally, unfairly, and unjustly.”  We also have to now contend with agitators who join the peaceful protests and quickly turn the focus off of the deaths of our brothers and sisters to destroying businesses and property. I don't like the rioting, but when we have demonstrated peacefully, when we have signed petitions, and the officers and other offenders walk away scott-free, it causes many to feel hopeless and frustrated and not give in to the voice of reason.  To which I say, enough is enough!  

Racism never stopped, it's just now being recorded thanks to smart phones. I'm not going to riot, but I'm hurting—I've had to try to explain to my son why black men and the black race are hated so much, because in the last month four of our brothers and sisters have been killed.  It’s heartbreaking that at the tender age of 13, my son wonders why people hate him so much because of the color of his skin. We all bleed the same! I have to warn my son that he cannot walk around with his hooded sweatshirt on his head, because that makes him a target (Treyvon Martin). I have to warn him that he and his friends cannot play cops and robbers, because he could be killed (Tamir Rice). You have no idea. I have to remind my daughter that if she gets pulled over by police to immediately turn her cell phone camera on, keep her hands on the steering wheel, and ask permission when she goes to get her license, registration, etc., all so she can make it back home.  

When my husband goes out, I pray, because he’s constantly stopped for DWB (driving while black) since he drives a nice European car and the officers always ask, “Who does this car belong to?” I myself have actually been pulled out of my husband’s car because they didn’t believe the car belonged to us. The atrocities that many African Americans have to deal with on a daily basis is overwhelming, but we are a people who will continue to push through and rise. My children have come to me over the last few days, and we are trying to figure out how we can help effect change. They’ve asked to go to protests, but, as a parent, until there is an organized protest where their safety will not be in question, we will fight in other ways. We should be able to dwell in harmony, and not have to worry about being taken out because of the color of our skin. 

I am not okay. My heart is heavy, like so many others’, and the only solace I find is in prayer to God. As the scripture says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” This, President Kuncl, is my prayer. Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you.