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The Guilt is Ours

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,

to unite,

and to deliver

on the promise

not originally meant for you

or for me.

The promise

that for all

there will be

Justice and Liberty. xo

Nance L. Schick, Esq. is an attorney, arbitrator, mediator, and conflict resolution coach based in New York City. She is the founder of The Law Studio of Nance L. Schick, where she and her team of employees, vendors, and strategic partners deconstruct conflict and re-create it as opportunity, using a holistic, integrative approach. Nance resolves conflict and cultivates leaders, using her EEOC training, as well as her proprietary Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, which is described in more detail in her first book, DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master. She is also 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).