Now… it’s time to say goodbye
“A writer’s problem does not change. It is always how to write truly and having found out what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes part of the experience of the person who reads it.” –Ernest Hemingway
For more than 17 years, writing has been my greatest tool in advocating for other people, in calling for change, in demanding accountability, and empowering the disenfranchised.
I started writing the Sable Verity Social Commentary during the lengthy and often infuriating campaign leading up to the 2008 presidential election. The nation seemed to be losing its mind over “the Black candidate” Barack Obama, and the media-led conversations about race were shallow at best, and nothing like the real-word conversations happening in communities all over the country, including right here in the Pacific Northwest. The Sable Verity provided an opportunity to contribute to the conversation in a manner unflinching.
I decided early on that I wouldn’t write to be famous, or make a ton of money. I wouldn’t choose topics because they were safe or popular; my motivation was to simply provide a perspective that was missing on issues critical to our time, including racism, politics, youth gun and gang violence, sexism and violence against women, education, police brutality, parenting; you name it, I probably wrote about it. I didn’t write because I thought I was the authority on these topics. I didn’t write to be cast as the Black voice, but one of many Black people with a voice, exposing diversity within diversity itself. I wrote to inform and to provide you with a perspective different than your own, whether you agreed with it or not. Whether you liked it or not.
In the years since the website has been up and my column has been printed in papers, many of you have grown to, well, really kinda loathe me. I’ve been threatened, mocked, teased, confronted, disrespected, laughed at…pretty much any negative reaction one could get, I was on the receiving end of. There were times when it was painful. There were times when I was angry and wanted to lash out. Instead, I continued to write.
I’m certainly not complaining, it comes with the territory. Besides, the rewards of putting my opinions out there have been tremendous and miles beyond what I ever could have anticipated. I’ve grown, learned new things, met new people, and told stories I am deeply passionate about, that matter. I have made lifelong friends because of this column and the Sable Verity website. I met love, and even a long lost (and believed to be dead) family member. Heck, I even met Michelle Obama. You could stick a million pins into a Sable voodoo doll and it would never be more powerful than having the First Lady hold my hand.
Many of you trusted me to tell your stories, or those of your friends or loved ones. Many of you came to me privately seeking help with your own writing projects; college application essays, business plans, open letters, emails to coworkers, letters to estranged family members, manuscripts, poems, and even declarations of love. Each written by people who had something important they wanted to express through writing, but just needed a little (or a lot) of help to get it done. I have been honored to tell your truth, and to help you tell your own.
But as the nostalgic tone of this column has probably already hinted, this will be the last installment of the Lest We Forget column. The choice to end it now hasn’t been very difficult; there are other projects I want to devote my time to, both personally and professionally. The website will remain online as an archive, and I may post there from time to time, but for now I’m putting the proverbial pen down.
To you, the readers, I say thank you. Thank you for reading my column. If you agreed or disagreed with me, thank you. If you loved what I wrote, or hated every word I ever committed to print or pixel and hoped beyond hope that I would be swallowed by the Fremont Troll never to be heard from again, thank you. For every supportive email, and every email tearing me down word by word, line by line, thank you. Thank you for challenging me, for encouraging me, and yes, for telling me to shut up. I’ll cherish this experience more than you’ll ever know.
Speak Truth to Power,