Creating inclusive spaces – Alex

After an unprompted interaction with law enforcement, Alex realized the importance of fully participating in your community, of knowing the people you’re surrounded by and those who can be an ally.

“I was in my neighborhood, I was playing tennis with my friend; we were both black. He was really good at tennis, I wasn't very good at tennis at all. I mean it was just really fun to just rally with him. Right? And so then it was like the middle of summer, so it was like really, really hot, so then I think both of our shirts were off.

We were like playing a set, and the police pull in, into the parking lot they say, ‘What are you doing here?’

But we have like tennis rackets, and a tennis ball. So, deductive reasoning would tell you that we're playing tennis. They asked how did we get in. I told them that I was a resident, and residents have access to this tennis court. They wanted to know how long we would be there, and told us that someone was watching us on camera, and wanted us to put our shirts back on.

And it was interesting because there was a runner that was running past at the same time without a shirt on, but they didn't stop him or question his being. They questioned ours.

We put back on our shirts, and we continued to play. But it was just another instance that reminded us that we were black and unwelcome. And even to the point of the police, because it's an ordinance of the government. Right? So I mean, if you feel unwanted by law enforcement, then how do you expect them to protect you?

For black people, I would say, try to create as many positive, inclusive black spaces as you can. Know who you are surrounded by, the power players, the people in government, knowing who your school board president is, is important. Knowing who the business leaders are, the ministers – this isn't a fight that you take on alone. Try to find as much joy in this society as you can, while being true to yourself and your culture.”

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