I am almost always the only Black person in the room.

Some days I wake up ready to go to work – I’m a biomedical researcher – and out of nowhere, a news report or a Facebook post shatters my peace and calm. Another Black person was murdered by the police. Notoriety and character assassination will follow soon. This isn’t justice, anybody can see that. It is painful to watch. It feels personal and I grieve. It’s like the world telling me that I am – we are – powerless. I feel like I don’t belong here.

I go on with my day, with less strength, sometimes holding back tears, sometimes dreaming of a place that doesn’t exist where I could go to escape all of it. The boost with which a successful person starts their day is irretrievably gone. Those days, I silently contend with the intrusive thoughts and the heavy heart. Excuse me if I seem a little distracted.

Some days I wake up physically tired, as if I weigh a ton of bricks. I’m not ill. The anger, hopelessness and sadness of Black lives not mattering is a heavy burden. The people around me, where I spend most of my day, my life, most likely are not yet aware of what happened and what is weighing on my mind. They most likely will not be aware of it until later, unless or until a riot takes place or enough digital outrage occurs that national news or social media users take note. Most likely, it will not affect them the way it affects me. Most likely they will talk about it because a cop was killed in retaliation.

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