Tap Tap and Then

I watched the #KidLit4BlackLives rally, hosted by The Brown Bookshelf live on Facebook. I am so so grateful to the many authors and creators who spoke. They are all phenomenal communicators and courageous ambassadors. The event was recorded and I highly recommend you watch it. Just search @thebrownbookshelf. Be warned: you will need a forklift to put your jaw back in place because these writers were mic-droppin every 2-3 minutes!

More importantly, they helped clarify the role that I, and honestly everyone, can and must adopt in this movement. I have done my utmost to encapsulate what I hope will be the next steps for more and more and more human beings.

Tap Tap and Then…


Tap tap the scenic trail pic
with its epic crusher caption that makes your biceps involuntarily bulge
give it the little heart or thumbs-up it so deserves
and then…
Tap tap that science post for feeding your brain neural nutrients
and then…
Tap tap the latest Black Lives Matter post
the protest sign
the knees off neck slogan
the calls to unite, unite, unite
and then…
fill out the census
find people who haven’t filled it out and help them get it done.

Tap tap and then make a donation to an activist organization
Tap tap and then volunteer wherever they fight for equality
Where are those places? You’ll know them when you see them because
they support minority-owned businesses
they work to fill educational gaps
they confront gender and racial biases
Who are “they”? You’ll see when you walk through the door that they are your neighbors and community members and they are glad you finally showed up

Tap tap and then contact your Senators
Tell them you demand justice and your vote belongs to the person who will defend your demands
Tap tap and then repeat this process with your House Reps
state reps
Tap tap and then if you’re young, find out how you can help work polling stations so the Covid-vulnerable don’t have to
Tap tap and then make a sign
put it in your yard
Tap tap and then make another sign
take it to a rally
Let your voice contribute to a huff-and-puff that can blow this white White House down

Tap tap and then don’t come to social media to feel better about the world
or simply seek comfort from pretty pictures
and goofy gifs
and pithy memes
and punchy hash tags
Don’t come to social media to hide in your usual cozy bubble
Come to social media to see and hear hear hear new, unfamiliar perspectives
Consider every blackout box a window thrown open
a hole in the wall
a passage in the back of a wardrobe
a bottomless well
a chance to go where you have never dared
an opportunity to finally finally finally realize what you’ve got and who you owe
Tap tap and dare to discover—our species thrives on curiosity

Tap tap and then know that I know you’re unsure
you’re skeptical
you’re also busy
you’re not the type
you’re lacking the needed skills
you’re telling yourself all this and more
because you’re no one special
you have no power
no influence
What difference could you possibly make?
Tap tap and then know that I know how you feel
that I felt that way once, too
but if I can canvass Confederate flag neighborhoods for Obama in ’08 and again in ’12, then
you can do this.

If I can help inmates at the county jail
relax, smile, feel confident about taking
the GED tests that will fundamentally shift the trajectory of their future, then
you can do this.

If I can spend summers teaching Upward Bound students
so that more low income, indigenous, non-white teens
succeed getting into and then thriving throughout college, then
you can do this.

If I can work at a local nonprofit
serving adults who need to complete their education
and/or gain English literacy skills
and/or study to pass the citizenship test
so that they can fully participate in their community
and in their children’s education, then
you can do this.

You can do this and you must.
Tap tap and then do something
because no one is secure
if even one is violated
No one is succeeding
if even one is denied
No one experiences real joy
if even one suffers
A balloon with even one hole
loses all its air

Tap tap and then take action.


(Featured image by me. Taken in El Malpais National Monument.)

By jenmichellemason

Jenny is a story hunter. She has explored foreign countries, canyon mazes, and burial crypts to gather the facts that make good stories. Once, she sniffed a 200-year-old skull...for research purposes. Jenny received an M.Phil from Trinity College Dublin and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. She has authored nearly 20 STEM books for young readers. Her inquisitive and funny nonfiction articles have appeared in Mountain Flyer, Cobblestone, and Muse magazines. Jenny also works as a freelance copy writer for nonprofits and small businesses.

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