street strangers

An Open Letter to All the Strangers

by Davin Franklin-Hicks

To the strangers who have crossed my path:
I have been racist.
I have been prejudiced.
I have been wrong.

I dismissed you.
I didn’t know your name, but I acted as though you were less than me.
I felt a surge of anger that wasn’t about you yet landed on you because you were nearby.
I stopped listening to you the moment you did not agree with me.
I was judgmental of you before I ever met you.
In my effort to dispel stereotypes, I forced one on you.

I forgot about your humanity because I was afraid to be vulnerable.
I had told myself stories about you and then I believed them as if they were true.
I acted like I knew something that I didn’t because I was threatened by your knowledge.

I slammed doors in your face if you dared to interrupt with a knock and a message.
I decided I mattered more and determined you mattered less.
I lied to get my way and you suffered in the process.

I averted my eyes when you clearly just needed to be seen.
I honored fear more than love.
It took mass destruction and brokenness for me to realize you are human and vulnerable, just like me.

I resented you.
I demonized you.
I even sometimes hated you.

You deserved better from me.
You have been the stranger that I have encountered all through my living.

While I cannot find each one of you to say I wish I had done it different,
I will see you in all the strangers that cross my path.
And I will be open and loving as I should have been with you.

Your Friend,