This is to anyone who identifies as a woman.
I’ve been hearing things that aren’t okay. They shouldn’t have been said.
It’s not okay that you’ve been made to feel unsafe. It’s not okay that you so often feel unsafe.
I’ll admit, I was slow on the uptake. I should have gone to the march. I should’ve encouraged my wife, Tynesha, when she told me she wanted to go to the march. I was afraid for her safety. But, I’ll handle my regrets some other time. This letter is about the unacceptable, that which breaks my heart, and what I now see needs to be done.
It’s not okay that some have written these things off as “locker room talk” or “just the way things are.” Apathy and lack of honesty are significant parts of the problem.
I, too, used to say terrible things. I still slip at times and I probably will again. But, I’m clear that your bodies are not objects. They belong to you.
It’s more than okay if you don’t want to be approached by a stranger on the street.
It’s more than okay if you ever say no. It’s more than okay for you to feel empowered to make decisions you feel are right to make. No one else gets to make those choices for you. No one.
I’ve been seeing things that aren’t okay.
But, know, that these actions are on watch – indefinitely. Too many of us are too awake to let anything go. I’m not letting anything go anymore.
They’ll tell me I’m oversensitive. They’ll tell me it’s not my fight. They’ll tell me I’m making something out of nothing. They’ll say they don’t believe me. You’ve heard similar messages.
We’ll here’s my response to those messages: thanks for sharing, but there’s work to be done.
I’m not here to tell you anything you don’t already know. I’m not here to re-explain anything you’ve already said.
I’m just here to let you know that I’m one day closer to better understanding how I can better support you. I’m one moment closer to learning about the violence of my own actions, and how to hold others accountable when they cause harm – intentionally or unintentionally.
I’m not perfect. But, I’m trying. And, I’m committing to give it more than I have in the past. It’s time out for the foolishness. No one gets to make you feel small, inferior, or less than. When they do that, they affect us all. Hatred affects everyone.
So, in every way possible, your liberation is my liberation and my freedom. I’m committing to work harder for it by listening more, speaking out more, and being their more when you say: it’s time to fight.
Know that you have one more person who takes you seriously. I know you matter and are worth it because you are. I know there is nothing you need to change to be loved. You have one more person that realizes that this is an everyday thing.
So, I’m here every single day, right alongside of you, to do the next right thing as best we can. And, when you need space – because there are some spaces that I don’t need to occupy – I’ll back off.
I want to do better.
Thank you for your continued patience with a continuously imperfect ally.
With Eyes Wide Open,
Sinclair P. Ceasar III