Mireille Sine, a HOKA Flyer and student, dedicated some time to tell us her story of how she’s been processing recent events. “I’m not sure it’s ever taken me this long to write a blog, but I’m glad I took the time I needed. My thoughts have changed, I’ve thrown myself into the fight but also took the time to read, assess, and think. So today, I want to talk about coming full circle.”

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In the beginning I was angry, fearful, and hurt. I cried from a different type of pain as the world reached a new level in our dystopia. I have to say it was a little jarring to watch others wake up to the injustices around them for what felt like the first time. Soon, petitions were brought forth, funds were raised, marches erupted, Black voices were amplified, and Black business were busier than they’d ever been. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the world once again screamed BLACK LIVES MATTER. The comradery was beautiful, and it was just enough to drown out the spiteful cries of the nay-sayers, the disbelievers, and the aggressive combatants who still deeply misunderstood the movement out of their own fear and ignorance.

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Running was a refuge because I wasn’t running for myself. My local park was flooded with #SAYHERNAME & #SAYHISNAME flyers and “Defund The Police” chalked on the ground; constant reminders that the fire was only getting started. I strived to stay in the loop, take in and reshare as much information as possible. My anger, fear, and hurt turned into determination, diligence, and a dash of optimism. At this time, I was also trying to do my job. I was trying to turn in my schoolwork on time. I was trying to be okay. And in this way, I was reminded again of what it meant to be Black in America. To be Black means putting a smile on your face in public only to cry when you get home some days. It means knowing you need to rest but having a million things stop you because you can’t let yourself get behind. It means having to explain your hair to others and looking at their surprised faces when you tell them how long it took. Being asked where you’re “really” from. Being Black means growing up and wishing the people on T.V. or your favorite magazine looked more like you. For Black men it means being classified as thugs before you’ve even uttered a word. For Black women it means to be fetishized beyond compare but still told you’re not enough.

Eventually, I had to step back because I knew what outer chaos can do to inner calm and I could feel the negativity rising inside me once again. I felt it was important to take the time to really absorb and understand all that had been going on and that meant getting away from the news and social media cycles. During my break, I hit a turning point when I read “Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I do believe it will change your perspective while giving you a deeper understanding as to why racist rhetoric has continued to prevail in America. This book was the reason why I was finally able to sit down and write this because it helped me understand what we are all really fighting for, and it laid the foundation for me to be anti-racist.

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While it was great to be mentioned on a few “Black Voices To Follow” lists. As new followers and faces join my Instagram feed (@mireille.sine), I am still slowly figuring out how to use that voice and what being a “leader” in this movement looks like to me. I know that I might make mistakes, be criticized, or face burnout. But it is my commitment to the movement to future generations, and to my sport that will keep me going. Which brings me to my full circle moment. I and many of you will be doing this dance for the foreseeable future. We will raise our voices, engage with one another, lean on the community, and rest as needed. I am happy the Black community has gained so many allies in the last month, but now it’s time to be accomplices. It’s time to reflect on how your daily choices can impact someone else’s life, both seen and unseen, negatively and positively. It’s time to fight voter suppression so we can elect leaders who truly represent the interest of the people. It’s time to stand for our LGBTQA+ community and advocate for human beings who come here in search of a better life. Most importantly, it’s time to see how we are all connected. My liberation is your liberation and the same will be said for generations to come. It’s time to get started.