I’m no stranger to healthy eating. I was a vegetarian for almost two years and have been pescatarian for some time now. But recently, Samira and I took another step on our journey toward a healthier diet. Samira is my wife and co-founder at a diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) firm called Hyphens and Spaces where we work to increase equity and justice in organizations committed to human service and social cause work. She and I are now ending a seven-day juice fast. In all of the decades I’ve fasted this fast has been really transforming for me. For the first time, I wasn’t doing it just for me. I have something different to live for now. Taking on the titles of husband and father has meant that taking care of my health has another layer of depth because now caring for myself is also caring for my family.
Our four-year-old has helped me to grow in ways that I didn’t see possible. I want to be around to see her grow up to do great things. Being a Black father, I know that there is so much more I need to do to ensure I can witness that. That includes taking care of my physical health in terms of eating since Black people disproportionally suffer from health-related illnesses. But it also means being protective over our bodies in social spaces.
“I want to be around to see her grow up to do great things. Being a Black father, I know that there is so much more I need to do to ensure I can witness that.”
Like many others all over the country and the world, I had been following closely and awaiting the Kentucky grand jury’s verdict in Breonna Taylor’s case. When I heard the verdict, I was already tired and hangry being right in the middle of my juice fast. I felt pains in my stomach when I read the result. I thought about how this case fits with the pattern of the thousands of past cases where law enforcement wasn’t held accountable for killing a Black person.
As much as I fought to keep my thoughts busy, I couldn’t help but see their faces in my memory. When I thought of them, I saw my face, my daughter’s face, and my wife’s face. I imagined losing my daughter in the way Aiyana MoNay Stanley-Jones was taken on May 16, 2010, at the age of seven. The sound of Aiyana’s grandmother’s cries the day she testified echoed in my head.
“Every day is a new journey that starts with me striving to keep myself and my family safe in this America.”
I couldn’t help but be unsettled by the thought of losing someone that means the world to me, so violently. I was unsettled at the thought of having to experience not only the loss, but the injustice that Breonna Taylor’s family now has to live through. The pain and hurt that must have added to the already existing pain and hurt. I was unsettled, knowing that this has happened to thousands of others before her. Even still, this blatant unfair injustice is something that only some of us understand when really everyone should understand why this verdict is unjust.
As a father, this is the added fear and struggle that I have to live with raising a Black daughter in this world amidst all the other worries that a father has to be concerned about. My prayers have to be longer and worry weighs heavier now more than it ever did before. Every day is a new journey that starts with me striving to keep myself and my family safe in this America.