• Mariama Suwaneh

From the Front Lines to the Prayer Line

Why My Body Couldn't Join You All in Physical Protest

Here I am today, five years after visiting Ferguson and I feel the knot in my stomach once again - the one that is telling me I am built for such a time as this. Some people will call me fake; others will call me a house negro or a pacifist. Some will say I don’t understand because I’m mixed. But I know my place, and for now that place is to be in prayer.


I remember what it feels like to be on the front lines, to be so filled with righteous rage that all you can do is yell and scream for the killing and the injustice to stop. Those of you who are in that place, scream, make noise, hold picket signs, and protest. Walk until your feet won't work and then crawl on your knees. When you cannot pull yourself along, ask your neighbor to carry you.

Walk until your feet won’t work and then crawl on your knees. When you cannot pull yourself along, ask your neighbor to carry you.

And in dispelling your anger through protest, be cautious - for where anger is allowed to fester without love and hope to heal the wound, that soul becomes weary. And it is that weariness, that we cannot fight off the darkness of our own thoughts and we fall prey to the temptation to harm, destroy, and bring pain to one another - whether it is with our words or our actions.


Know what you are fighting for and remain present with that intention. Allow no one to warp your heart and mind with their ego. Be smart. Know who is with you and know who cannot be trusted to walk alongside you. The journey to peace and prosperity is not one that all are willing to travel. It requires self-sacrifice, forgiveness, healing, and creativity. Some of us have fallen prey to the belief that racism is a system. I promise you, it is no more a system than I am made of metal. It is a spiritual issue, a deep and strong dilemma of the heart.


I remember what it feels like to be on the front lines. I remember the rage inside of me the first time videos of black death surfaced on my Instagram feed. My instincts and spirit battled each other - just as they did in Ferguson, Missouri. One told me I was in a fight for my life, the other told me God was in control of my life.

My instincts and spirit battled each other - just as they did in Ferguson, Missouri. One told me I was in a fight for my life, the other told me God was in control of my life.

Today, I sit in prayer because again I felt that rage. And as happened with Ferguson, I knew that my hope for a peaceful protest would not be realized. Again, know who is with you; know that there are people whose ego and drive to be sensational will outweigh their solidarity with you.


Today, I chose to focus on building my home, and not tearing others’ down. I knew that my heart was not prepared for yet another day of yelling; and that if I went out there, I would be falling into a trap to be sensational rather than use my skills and my wisdom in the best way I know how. Those of you who felt that protesting was using your skills in the best way you know how: you are the soldiers who will create a pathway for those of us who cannot walk any farther to build lighthouses for justice and peace. You are the soldiers who pave the way for our teachers, government officials, community leaders, doctors, scientists, and each other to be creative and build something new.


I remember what it feels like to be on the front lines, and today I chose to pray, because I know the front line is no longer my place. For my own sanity, I cannot sit in my anger and rage any longer. Instead, I choose to sit in my home, cry, and cry some more, mourn for my brothers and sisters whose lives were taken far too soon, and I choose to heal. It is in my healing that I can be creative once again and do what I know how to do. Help others from different backgrounds hear, feel, and love each other. Perhaps that’s why God made me mixed.


I remember what it feels like to be on the front lines. That is no longer my place. So to those of you who know your purpose, who have thought through your strategy, who know who stands alongside you, and who speak with clear intentions - thank you for your self-sacrifice today.


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” - Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


by Mariama Suwaneh

 © 2020 Own Your Audacious by Mariama Suwaneh.