When I woke up this morning, I thought my emotions from last night would have disintegrated a bit… the truth is, I feel worse today than I did last night. Last night I had to console one of my best friends, as she came home from the protests. Your life and the things that matter really gets put into perspective when you are watching violence as it occurs, knowing that someone you care about is right in the midst of it. As I did everything I could to help my friend process her emotions, with the stench of tear gas looming in her room, I started to feel the weight of all that had happened. It all felt like the worst possible nightmare… so naturally I tried to go to sleep. Eventually, we must all wake up. When I did, reality set in. This was not a dream or a fantasy… THIS WAS REAL. This morning for the first time in my life, I felt worthless. As if I didn’t matter. As if life didn’t matter. We live in a country where a Black male can lose his livelihood for fighting dogs, but Caucasian male can be held up and even respected for killing a Black male. It is a hard pill to swallow when the country that you call home constantly reinforces the principle that your life is worth less than that of a dog. For me, it is an even harder pill to swallow that I chose to do nothing about this. Along with feeling worthless, this morning I felt an overall sense of guilt… guilt because I was not there in Ferguson. Guilt because I chose to stay at home and be comfortable instead of protesting the unjust murder of Michael Brown. And guilt because when things turned for the worst in Ferguson, I was not there to support my friends and those people that I care about. It is safe to say that last night’s events have changed my life forever. Many people that know me well know that I am not one to speak out on issues such as this one. I have never been comfortable with that. But now, I no longer have a choice. It is no longer about my comfort zone. It is about getting the rights that I as not a Black man, but as a human being deserve. Equality. A fair shake. This is what I want, because what is it worth to go to college and have a great career if you are constantly living in fear and having to make OTHERS comfortable in your presence? So now I know that it is no longer a choice as to whether or not I must get involved. It is my duty, not just for the equality of Black people, but for the equality of ALL people. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “What affects one directly affects all indirectly”. Regardless of whether or not you believe Officer Wilson committed a crime, the relationship between the Black community and the police is one that needs to be improved. It will take effort and change from BOTH sides. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but the more of us that are willing to get involved, the faster progress can happen. Michael Brown didn’t have to die, but unfortunately he did. It is our duty to stand up and fight so that this this injustice doesn’t have to happen again. STAY WOKE.