1st May 2021.
Words by Amandine. Photography by Unseen Stories.
We are entering May 2021, almost 1 year since the atrocious murder of George Floyd, an event which moves the world and gave impulsion to the civil right movement we are still living now.
Amandine is a French creative talent based in Hamburg. She moves in the German city in May 2020, during the pandemic. 2020 was a year of major upheavals both geographically and emotionally for her.
Through her letter, she is sharing with us how defining this year was.
In Hamburg, July 19th 2020
It has been a couple of months since the beginning of what we could call ‘the Civil Rights Movement’ of my era. In fact, the movement the movement has already been running in North America for a few years, but it is just up until May that it has become more prominent and expanded to the globe.
Unfortunately, this is not the only thing that has spread around the world. This first half of the year has been very heavy and challenging to say the least. We are in the midst of a health crisis, trying as best we can to survive this global pandemic while protesting in the streets against a pandemic of a completely different magnitude; that of letting the world know that our lives matter.
For weeks, my emotions and feelings were all over the place, I felt as if I was on a roller coaster. The truth is, I think I am still riding it. Some days I just feel deeply sad and hurt, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Whenever I check on my phone, I feel anxious about what has been going on in the world. I am fearful of reading, of seeing graphic images, videos, hashtags, and posts about the death of another black person. I can tell you that it is hard to navigate through it psychologically. The pain goes through my heart and body.
For a while, I felt like I was seeing a violent racially motivated news story every day. Whether it was about the actions of a Karen calling the police on a Black person just for being Black; a Black transsexual being killed; or a new Black person being killed by the police, every face is now anchored in my memory. I keep thinking (selfishly) that it could have been a family member, a friend or me doing the headlines.
I have a special relationship with the police, and I must tell you that I find it hard to feel confident in their presence; in fact, I do not trust them. It is quite inconceivable to me that today, a human being can be brutalized by those who are supposed to be the protectors, solely due to the color of the skin.
I do the very best I can with what I have; by sharing resources, signing petitions, making donations, and having open discussions with friends, family and colleagues to keep the momentum going and ignite something in people. At one point I thought I was not doing enough, and that I needed to do and be more out there and protest. The mind is a powerful thing. But Baby, I am exhausted.
Exhausted by the people who treat our bodies as if they were disposable, exhausted by the looks we get on the streets, exhausted by the micro aggressions, exhausted from being the only black woman at work. Overall, I am exhausted from trying to validate my existence, our existence in the world. I mean, why should I? I just want us to be.
Although I feel that people are being openly racist and acting accordingly (like that lady who recently made a Nazi sign in the street toward us), at the same time I believe that there is an uprising taking place. Seeing the world coming together fighting for equality makes me optimistic. The road ahead is long and complex, but we must not lose sight of our goal: No Justice, No Peace.
I trust that what we are living now will be beneficial to you in your era.
Amandine is a French Communications Consultant based in Hamburg. She moves into the German city during the pandemic.