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."