SSD: There are two big questions that I’m asking every interview subject to answer.
First: What does it mean to you to “Be Black” in 2022?
TH: For me, it means to be defiantly resilient. The things we endure in society are no secret. Over the last couple of years, the differences in treatment have become very clear for the whole nation to see. It’s not a matter of if racial discrimination or racism exists, but a matter of if you acknowledge & accept the impact that it has.
Therefore, to be Black means to deliberately breakthrough, and rise above, those challenges – because we know that there is no amount of change possible that will solve the issues or save the day. We’re no longer simply trying to survive, we’re trying to thrive….getting all that we worked so hard for and earned along the way.
SSD: Ok, moving on to Numero Dos: As a Black Person in America, what’s one thing that you wish other people knew about your daily experiences?
TH: That me wearing the uniform doesn’t protect me from any of the race-related struggles that other Black People in this country face. The things I witness on the news and social media impact me both mentally and emotionally. However, the exposure to other cultures and backgrounds has made me more patient and understanding of differing opinions and/or lack of understanding.
I use that to keep me levelheaded – and have the conversations that need to happen on a peer-to-peer level with the hope that I’ll create a sliver of doubt in their thinking that will lead them to seek out more information.