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We’ve All Been Hurt By Racism

I’ve been hurt by racism, too.

My experiences might have been different from yours.

But they are valid, too.

I didn’t understand why people made me feel bad about my new friend.

I almost ran away to at least have an opportunity to explore

the connection I had with a boy from a higher class than mine.

Yet he chose not to challenge the friends who thought he was a traitor

because of my skin color,

which I can’t change, either.

I’m still angry that my friends were held at the door until the bouncer saw me;

and that my classmates have been harassed, assaulted, stabbed, and shot

because of how they look

to someone with every capacity to overcome

the beliefs they blindly adopted

and even the ones that seem supported by evidence.

I’m just as hurt and scared

when my loved ones challenge me with prejudices that sometimes sound like facts.

I question myself, too.

Am I a traitor?

Am I a fool?

Will I be assaulted again

because I look to some like a white bitch

who deserves it?

How is my voice less valid

because of people I didn’t know

and with whom I might only share

a skin tone?

Does your oppression of me

empower you

or correct the past?

If so, I can be silent in your presence,

even when I want to show unity

and solidarity

that you might not want.

I understand the lack of trust.

It’s hard for me to trust people, too.

Yet this world is hard and lonely enough.

Can we take the risk,

join hands

and hearts,

and see what difference we can make?

Can we be the example of what’s possible?

Or shall we perpetuate the cycle

that had our ancestors destroyed,

perhaps in different ways,

or maybe the same?

Nance L. Schick, Esq. is an attorney, arbitrator, and mediator based in New York City. She is the founder of The Law Studio of Nance L. Schick. Her holistic, integrative approach draws from her experience as a human resources supervisor, as well as her legal and EEOC training. She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, and an award-winning entrepreneur, who has been acknowledged by the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Best for NYC 2015 finalist), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards), and Urban Rebound NY/Count Me In (2013 Pitch Competition finalist). Most recently, she attained her certificate in Ethno-Religious Conflict Mediation and now serves as the Main ICERM Representative to the United Nations.