“I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours.”
We passed the metro station and heard the operator—“All metro trains will not be stopping at NoMa Station due to police activity.”
And as we looked over, yellow tape fenced-in a newly painted scene; an unlit train car, along with a few straggling passengers on our side of the platform.
A small huddle of police officers and paramedics had arrived; they carried a faded, neon orange stretcher into the shadowed metro. We continued on our way to Union Station, with the Red Line “single-tracking”.
When we passed again, some three hours later on our way home, the yellow tape still hung limp, lonely and damp, strung across the Shady-Grove side of the deserted platform. That neon-orange stretcher lay on the tiled-floor, just outside of the train-car doors, unused. The small-officer-huddle included a few new faces.
Kevin Sutherland was 24 years old, stabbed multiple times on the metro this past Saturday, on Independence Day. Kevin was on the Shady-Grove-bound train. Kevin was on the way to celebrate July 4th. Kevin boarded the metro somewhere before NoMa Station.
Just like me.
Kevin, I took the train just after yours. I remember seeing it leave the station just as we’d entered; and I was frustrated. Because we all have places to be, right?
I saw the yellow tape; officers; a neon orange stretcher, discarded and sad and depressed on the platform, because it could do nothing for you.
And surely, Kevin, I know nothing of your character; nor anything of the hands that took you. But I am deeply unsettled by it all.
Humanity reaches desperation and independence all at once; evil feeds off isolation; it distorts reason; it seeks the weak and afraid (in all of us); it takes advantage of the every-day “right to life” we feel entitled to.
But we have no such right. And most of all, we are never independent of one another. We are neither independent of the man killed, nor the man killing.
We are both. And we are responsible.
There is nothing independent about us. In recognizing the gift of experiencing anything and everything, from the smallest to largest details, we must also realize our place in a greater struggle.
No matter how far I think you are from me--or how far you perceive me to be from you:
We are keepers of one another.
And it is time we stop compartmentalizing our pains based on what we know, who we are comfortable with, and what we are "okay" talking about. Because this is not a post about a stabbing on the metro. And this is not a post about senseless evil.
This is a post about you, right now; and this is a post about me, right now. This is a post about what we can do, right now.
This is about a world that is turning in on itself; a world that is alone, and desperate, and afraid. This is a post about you, and me, and our call to be brave--even if only for a few seconds longer; to be courageous, even as darkness approaches; to stand in solidarity--and action--even as the weight of injustice swings more swiftly, and more frequently, than that of justice and truth.
It's time to get uncomfortable.
Because you are as much a part of me, as I am of you. And it is time to forfeit this disease of emotional independence, for the sake of one another.
It is time to forfeit our independence.
Because we cannot be free until they are free. My humanity is yours; and yours is mine.