It was an innocent message intended to stay in touch with an online friend. It was a youthful communication with the goal of networking and gaining support. The simple, single sentence that arrived in my Inbox on February 3, 2010 at 5:07 AM PST said, “Hello my beautiful friend how is your life and your family last week i had fiver i was sick but my God heeled me.”
The author of the message is 23 and lives in Uganda. It is safe to say he does not receive a lot of mail on the social networking site we frequent. It is a certainty that he did not expect the response he received on February 3, 2010 at 6:10 AM PST.
I am fighting discrimination and abuse in the new setting where I live. Although their purported mission is to provide assistance for those who have health challenges and a healthy, safe environment for those who are retired, they do just the opposite for me.
I am finding myself threatened with expulsion and reprimands for striving to make a life here. I am subjected to petty gossip at each meal or else a constant drone of complaints about poor health and what the speaker can no longer do.
Even though I suppress my education and background, I find myself excluded and spoken to as a child. Even though I do things to create a better environment and enrichment for the community while also not proclaiming that I was the source of the benefit, I find I am usually excluded from what I developed and reviled for having sought to partake of it. If it is something I endeavored to do for myself while holding it available for the rest and it fails, there is still notification and counsel to them that the goal is still doable at a later date when there can be more planning. The result is that the idea is developed and set up as an activity but I am excluded from learning about it and therefore being able to participate.
The support staff has the impression they can treat me with disrespect and disdain.
All of these things wear on my health and make me not interested in continuing the work that I am supposed to be doing. I become depressed. These things also pull on my energy making me less able to produce true and realizable results that I can claim as my work in order to further my own goals because it looks like I’ve been idle or just can’t measure up.
It appears, in this highly White and Latino community, that I am a civil rights leader because at this time I am the only Black woman (who is actually multi-racial) here.
Please tell your neighbors and friends of the life here in the United States so that they will not live under the dilusion that things are good. We still suffer discrimination nearly as bad as before our civil rights movement that began in the 1950s. It just permeates itself in a more pernicious manner.
In all likelihood, this youth is merely a young Ugandan who is striving to make a meaningful life for himself. He writes to a woman in the United States who appears to have strength and wisdom. He probably wants to communicate in order to build his skills in English and share some of his victories with a friendly person. The innocent probably never suspected he would receive such a bomb of information as that dispensed to him this morning.
Now the pregnant question is Will he carry the message and wisdom to his fellow Ugandans and other connections on the Internet? Will he learn and benefit from the news from the Land of the Free in sunny California?
It is my desire that millions learn the truth and act to stomp out the hate and disservice that discrimination and abuse cause in every way.