by Robyn Hammontree
Where, then, do I find my hope?
I find my hope in a text from my father telling me his heart breaks with mine. A 75-year-old middle-class white man who grew up in one of the most conservative parts of Michigan, who has never stopped learning and has never closed his heart.
I find my hope in the clink of drinks with friends who share both my disbelief and deeply-held beliefs in the Deep South.
I find it in the thousands of messages I've exchanged over the past two days with friends new and old expressing love and solidarity and encouragement and bravery.
I find it in the stories of friends who choose to share the hard things, to boldly step forward.
I find it in groups of women who do not know each other, but recognize the strength and humanity and struggle of other women, and choose to use that recognition to encourage and lift each other up.
I find my hope in teachers and parents who find words when there are none to comfort their students and children.
I find my hope in your vows to volunteer and donate and protest and stand up and sit down and have the difficult conversations.
I find my hope in every heart sent when there are no words. In every "I'm with you" and every "I know this is hard." In every expression of solidarity.
I find my hope in a video chat with my mother, a woman who has fought her whole life to make the world a better place for me, and doesn't plan on stopping just because we found out the finish line is further away than we thought it was.
I find my hope in forgiveness. In apologies from family and friends who said something callous and didn't realize how deeply it cut. It is so difficult to apologize, to change. I am inspired by their bravery and depth.
I find hope in my siblings, who are kind and bright and brave human beings who inspire me to be better.
I find it in my husband, who loves better than anyone I know. Who has listened and held me when I cried and reminded me that no one can touch my soul.
I find my hope in you, friends. Thank you. You are my reason.