Time to tell the truth.
I, like many Americans on Inauguration Day, couldn’t help but smile.
I smiled when Lady Gaga sang the national anthem.
I smiled when Kamala Harris put her hand on the Bible.
And I smiled when President Joe Biden stood in front of our broken country as a beacon of hope that maybe things will one day get better.
I smiled, and I also cried.
I cried when I stood alone in my bedroom in a moment of silence for the lives close to me who have battled COVID-19 and miraculously survived—and those who did not.
I cried when Garth Brooks came out in his cowboy boots and symbolized that one can be “country” and still value truth and our democracy.
I cried when Amanda Gorman touched the souls of America with her words the way all poetry does—without a need for discussion.
I smiled and cried a lot that day.
It was a day of many firsts, and with it, I felt empowered as an individual to stand up and say something.
So, here it goes:
There is a caste system in this country.
Yes, in the United States, there exists a caste system.
Systemic racism is real.
Inequity is in the soil we walk on.
More people of color are dying of COVID-19 than whites.
People of color are also disproportionately unemployed.
Racial and ethnic disparities in insurance access continue to exist.
Black Lives Matter is not a movement about all lives.
It is a message to the world to wake up and acknowledge that Black lives have not mattered enough.
There is a lot of work to be done.
We need to wake up.
We need to come together.
We need to take a firm look at our ways of being that are archaic and harmful—not inclusive and supportive of all.
We may differ in the emotions we feel about that day, but for most of us, I think we are already to get to work.
We want change, and we want it now.
It starts with COVID-19.
Let’s get this done, people.
Wear a mask.
Let’s start over, keep advice consistent, and above all—tell the truth.