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I hold a collection of stones in my hands.

I did not collect them myself, but somehow they got slipped into my pocket.

They are not all the same.

Some are larger than others,

Different shades and colors.

Some are rough and hard,

Some are smooth, cold.

 

Each of the stones have words on them,

dates in time with meanings I can barely begin to understand.

Stonewall Riots – 1969

Election of Harvey Milk  -1977

Homosexual Law Reform – 1980s

Same sex marriage bill – 2015

 

They all mean something different to me.

Some of them hurt to hold,

But some provide a needed relief.

These stones have been collected for me but it is my duty to add to the collection.

 

These stones build the castle I live in today.

They are the only thing holding me up.

Without them, I would be nothing.

 

I don’t feel like I own them, though.

I know that they are for me,

A gift.

But I don’t know how to make them mine

Or if they ever will be.

It’s like I’m holding someone else’s history.

 

These stones are weighing down on me.

Bringing me to my knees, to the ground.

They hold me there, still and silent.

They stand for so much,

Whilst I stand for so little.   

 

A young girl stands strongly next to me.

She also has a collection of stones,

Hers are very different from mine but just as important.

Abolition of Slavery – 1865

Brown v. Board of Education – 1954

Civil Rights Movement – 1954

Martin Luther King Jr – 1963

Black Panther Party – 1966

Election of Barack Obama – 2008

 

She feels more connected to her stones than I do mine.

She can see herself in them,

Her family,

Ancestors.

She holds them tight.

With pride,

With honor.

Holding on for her life.

 

She tells people about her stones.

Shares them with others.

Treats them right.

 

I cannot speak.

I do not speak.

I don’t know how to speak.

I live in a closet made of bricks,

Whilst the history makers had no doors to hide behind.

 

I am not as strong as they were.

Tangled in a web of history,

I do not know where I stand.