I’m sorry that I didn’t notice you were black when we were playing at the mall.
I was just happy to have someone my size to be with.
I didn’t know our lives were so different.
I’m sorry I didn’t notice you were treated differently in school.
We shared the same buses, free lunch program, and classes.
I thought we were the same.
I’m sorry I didn’t do more when I was threatened for dating you.
I was scared,
of your community and mine.
I am sorry I wasn’t more of an activist.
I looked to you for guidance and leadership,
still not recognizing limitations on your power.
To me, you have always been so strong and capable of anything.
I didn’t notice a lot,
and it’s no excuse,
that I let my abuse and rape take my focus off of you.
I put my energy into caring for my mom through her cancers,
and grieving the loss of all of my aunts and uncles,
plus a few cousins.
I was battling depression
and recovering from a suicide attempt.
I thought it was enough that I befriended you
and that I love you,
that I made a career out of the pursuit for unity.
I had no idea I needed to protect you,
and I’m afraid I couldn’t have,
even if I had tried.
Yet I am here now,
waking (although belated),
grieving with you,
reaching out to you,
and asking your forgiveness
for my blindness.
I want to understand.
I want to align,
and to deliver
on the promise
not originally meant for you
or for me.
that for all
there will be
Justice and Liberty.
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City attorney and mediator who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills, especially in business and employment disputes. Her holistic, integrative approach to conflict resolution draws from her experience as a crime victim, human resources supervisor, minor league sports agent, and United Nations representative. She is a 2001 graduate of the State University of New York Buffalo Law School trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). She is also 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 (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015), 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 (Finalist, 2013 Pitch Competition).