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Daily Verse 11.7.20: Read My Face

My eldest son told me about the climate change countdown clock in NYC. I hadn’t heard about it—maybe because it’s not in my backyard here in Maine.

Apparently, on Sept 20th of this year, the clock was set to 7 years, and is now counting down…visually demonstrating that time is limited before the effects of climate change or beyond repair and irreversible. He said the whole concept was about “out of sight, out of mind”, and this would keep the conversation RIGHT THERE in the sight of millions every day.

Earlier that same month, tennis player Naomi Osaka used her platform to intentionally get in people’s faces (my words, not hers) about Black Lives Mattering at the US Open. More than just BLM being an abstract concept, she had seven different masks she donned throughout the tournament with the names of Black lives taken with violence. I’ve heard the whole “say their names” meme on social media, but this felt more simple—less like a meme and more like an inescapable moment that engages.

This is what it has come to, it seems, to not lose sight of what matters most: the existential crisis of our earth and the safety of black and brown lives on it. It honestly breaks my heart (when I’m not full of fury that we could be so lackadaisical, ambivalent, or unresponsive.)

So I’m playing with getting in people’s faces. I bought four masks, two with Black women (Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor) and two with Black boys (Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin) who were killed when they were the same ages as my white boys are now.

Maybe as I wear them in the whitest state in our union, someone will ask “Who’s that?”. Or maybe they will pull out their phone and Google their names and learn something they didn’t know. Or maybe they will look away and write me off as a liberal bitch with an ax to grind. But this is what it’s come to, it seems, and if people won’t listen, maybe they’ll read my lips behind the mask.

 

Want to know what these daily verses are all about? Read here to learn what inspired this practice on my birthday post, November 1st.