No Room for Racism

Submitted for Contest #45 in response to: Write a story about activism.... view prompt

30 comments

I sucked my breath in. Well, I attempted to. The mask on my face left no room for me to breathe. But that didn't matter. People's lives are getting wasted on something that should have been resolved decades ago. Protesting is the only thing we can do, or else the government won't do anything. They won't make the United States fair. It was never fair. With the Europeans killing the Native Americans, segregation, women having fewer rights, and Muslims being thought of as terrorists. I could list many more. Now, we have a man named George Floyd that was presumed to be murdered by a police officer. 


All of this seems never-ending. The United States is supposed to be a land of freedom, a place where people go for a new, more enjoyable life. The United States is supposed to be a place for opportunity. What do we have now? We have people being treated differently for these reasons: they talk differently, have different appearances, or have a different amount of melanin in their skin. Why can't some people just accept the fact that we were all created differently? 


I sighed and held my sign gingerly. "No Room for Racism," it read in striking red letters. I needed to get to the protest outside. I lived in Portland, Oregon. It's an enthralling city with so many buildings and tourist spots. My favorite one was the Japanese Garden. It was stunning, with so many variations of plants living together in equanimity. How I do wish that all human beings could live in harmony like flowers. We can.


I stared at myself in the mirror. I was going incognito. I didn't need any news channels to know my identity. You never know which tactics the media uses to expose you. I had on a mask, gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, and pants that went down to my ankles. However, I will be fighting for the rights of all human beings. I don't care what happens to me, as long as I strive for others' rights. Ultimately, I got out of the bathroom, went inside of my car, and traveled downtown. 


As I drove, thoughts flooded my brain. 


What might happen to me?


What if I get hurt?


These sorts of thoughts made me worry about myself. About what might happen if I unexpectedly got shot. In the news, Then, I remembered my mission. I was fighting for others. I was fighting for a purpose. I had to help. Innocent people are dying because of these protests. And this is all because racism exists.


Why can't racism go away?


You can't alter someone's judgment on others unless you show them something persuasive. You have to tell yourself that, Graham.


I arrived downtown and managed to obtain a parking spot in front of a small shop. I got out of my car, bearing the sign as if it was my newborn baby. At the thought of that, my heart shattered.


My newborn baby. 


He's gone now.


I shook it off, cursing myself for thinking about that again. Losing a loved one... it isn't easy. I envisioned how the families of the protesters would feel if one of their close family members perish in the protest. I heard them from some distance. I followed the sound of the chanting. I found the road where everyone was marching. It made me choke, seeing everyone together, all with the same intent. I entered the crowd, keeping my sign and chin up, yelling amongst all of them. 


It was a festive atmosphere. It seemed as if I was chanting at a birthday party, not chanting for the rights of George Floyd. Nearby, bystanders were gawking at us, mouths agape with incredulity. Some of them joined. Some didn't possess any signs. Some did. They just marched with us. That was enough. It was enough to show that a great number of people believe in human rights. It was heartening. I continuously believed that the whole human race was corrupt, but this proved to me that there are some good people left in humanity. They have to preserve that. Pass it on to their children. They can.


After a few hours concerning a lot of marching and shouting, it began to get dark. I gazed at the crescent moon, determined to fight for my cause for as long as I can. I was a strong, youthful man. I can do whatever I want to. Only if I believe. If I believe in myself. I can. 


As I watched the stars, I was lost in my own world. Suddenly, screaming and shouting commenced. This time, it wasn't the hopeful type. This was a scary type. The type of screaming that caused my hair to prick up. The type of screaming that meant something was seriously wrong. People were fleeing in the other direction, the way that most of us were walking. As I got closer to the shouting, I realized what it was. The police were throwing tear gas at the mob. I began to run. For my life. For everything. For my wife. My child. 


The gas hit me. I started to cough like a lunatic. Tears welled up in my eyes as yellow splotches formed in my vision. My coughing wouldn't stop. I was coughing up all of the phlegm in my lungs. It seemed as if I was attempting to cough my lungs out, but I couldn't suspend the coughing. It was going on and on. A police officer kicked me, and I realized they wanted the protesters out. With my vision almost gone, I crawled on the road. I proceeded to take a shot at standing up, but I couldn't gain my balance. I just passed out on the sidewalk like a worthless rag. 


When I woke up, the moon was at the top of the sky. I figured that it was around midnight. I got up, relieved to have my balance and vision back. 


My wife. My kids.


I hurried to my car, knowing exactly where it was because I tracked where I went on my phone. I got in, immediately putting the car in gear and driving back home. Just as I unlocked the door, my wife appeared in the foyer. She hugged me so tight that my vision had yellow spots. For the second time tonight.


"I was so worried, Graham! I thought that you were imprisoned. I thought..." her voice trailed off, but she didn't need to say anything else. 


"It's okay. I'm here now. The protests were wild."


She beamed and replied, "No room for racism here." 

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30 comments

07:10 Jun 08, 2020

AMAZING!!! Nice story with a great moral value in it. Great job!!!Keep writing:)))

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16:01 Jun 08, 2020

Thank you so much for all of your nice comments on my submissions! 🥺It means so much to me, reading your feedback!

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16:03 Jun 08, 2020

Glad to have help you, Noor! No problem! You are a great writer,by the way!😊😉

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Sarah Greenwood
02:32 Jun 16, 2020

Love this. Felt like I was right there with you. Good job

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02:23 Jun 21, 2020

Thank you ♥😊

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Suzana Mahabub
16:39 Jun 14, 2020

I absolutely love that you wrote the story about the current situation going on. And I LOVE that you were so descriptive about the tear gas during the protest. Reading the part about choking made MY throat close up, AMAZING WORK!!

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17:36 Jun 14, 2020

Thank you so much for your nice comment! I will be sure to review some of your stories too :) Have a nice day!

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Kathleen Whalen
14:11 Jun 14, 2020

Wonderful! Very powerful and vivid story.

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17:39 Jun 14, 2020

Thank you for your kind comment :)

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00:11 Jun 14, 2020

Well written story Noor! It is sad that in 2020 these tragedies from racism are still going on. You captured the feeling and atmosphere of the situation perfectly🌟

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01:36 Jun 14, 2020

Thank you so much!

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17:54 Jun 14, 2020

Hi Noor! No prob at all :-) Thank you too, for the 'likes' and the time to read my stories😀

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18:05 Jun 14, 2020

:))

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19:52 Jun 13, 2020

You showed us how protests feel like. I find that its a war on its own. You described, brilliantly, how he felt like when the gas hit, almost as though he was seeing yellow lights. I noticed the coughing and passing out and waking up and thinking about his family. I like the way the story played out, how you led us to see everything in a whole new way. And by the way, Noor, "no room for racism here." is beautiful.

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19:57 Jun 13, 2020

Aww, thank you so much! This comment made my day. I am so happy I got a nice comment from a person that is better than me at writing! There is NO room for racism anywhere :) Have a wonderful day and keep writing! ~noor a.

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Rhondalise Mitza
14:26 Jun 12, 2020

No room for improvement here; your story was great already! I like the way the husband and the wife were thinking the same thing, like maybe they had this motto before. (or maybe this is a very common sign at protests and I am oblivious, sorry) Either way, it was tied very well and you didn't have to use plot devices or things to keep the story going.

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14:33 Jun 12, 2020

Thank you so much Rhondalise! Your kind comments always make my day! Stay safe. ~noor a.

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Khadija S.
06:34 Jun 08, 2020

A sweet story with an important message.

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16:20 Jun 08, 2020

Thank you for your nice comment, Khadija!

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Khadija S.
19:10 Jun 08, 2020

My pleasure :)

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Miles Gatling
04:56 Jun 06, 2020

Lovely story, congratulations! Thanks for all the support too 😃

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15:04 Jun 06, 2020

Thank you for your nice comment! It was no problem :D

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Ray Van horn
16:32 Jun 15, 2020

Fiery!!! This line is brilliant: "It was stunning, with so many variations of plants living together in equanimity. How I do wish that all human beings could live in harmony like flowers. We can."

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01:45 Jun 16, 2020

Thank you so much for your nice comment. Stay safe! 😊

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Huma Fatima
09:51 Jun 15, 2020

great story👍

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01:46 Jun 16, 2020

Thank you. Stay safe! ~noor a,

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14:00 Jun 14, 2020

Nice story! One opinion of mine though: Protesting won't do anything, except get people hurt, especially during a pandemic. All the laws that are supposed to stop racism are already in place. But just because there are laws, doesn't mean there will be no racism. Also, some people are taking this out of hand and some cops and some white people are being discriminated. I understand rude words, but discrimination is basically negative generalizations, and some people who are standing for black lives (which I totally agree with) are taki...

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17:38 Jun 14, 2020

You are right. The riots won't really stop racism. I guess that sometimes people reach the breaking point, and for them, it was George Floyd. And, thank you! Keep writing and have an amazing day, Annayla! ~noor a.

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14:44 Jun 15, 2020

Not complaining, but it would have been better if the breaking point happened before quarantine...xD No prob! Keep writing and stay safe yourself!

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01:45 Jun 16, 2020

True though-

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