When things are going wrong in America I hear from people: are you all right, what is really happening over there, when are you coming home? “It is beyond me why you have stayed this long, ” wrote a friend I have known since high school. “He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata,” I write back.
Tonight, people are rioting in Minnesota, the first state I lived in as a 17-year-old exchange student. People are rioting in Georgia, the state I call home. In Minneapolis, a police officer knelt on the neck of a black man until he could no longer breathe. Say his name – George Floyd. In Glynn County, Georgia, an ex-detective and his son have been charged, three months after killing a black man out for a run. Say his name – Ahmaud Arbery. They are not the first or the last, just the latest victims of modern-day lynching. Police kill people of colour in the US. There is no pause for a pandemic. This is the country I have lived in for 18 years and the country I am preparing to leave.