Hidden secrets! An open letter to the #exoneratedfive & Ava DuVernay

It’s been a long long time since I’ve written a letter so bear with me. Yea, I blog and write books but this feels different. It is different for me.

Even though I watched the documentary series “When They See Us” week’s ago, I just recently was able to sit down to watch the interview with Oprah. Half out of fear and half out of guilt. There was a moment when I realized that I, an African American single mother of a teenage boy, could have been a mother getting this same phone call. That by third grade, a system that only sees my child as a number could have already been preparing a jail cell for him.

It hurt like nothing else I could explain.

Can I be honest with you? I wanted there to be five healed African American men with bright smiles on that stage. It’s the inner optimistic that drives me. What I saw was 30 years of pain, fear, and the effects of a misguided system. As a mom, I almost wanted to bear hug them through the screen. (I’m little so it would be more like a teddy bear hug but you get my point)

There was something else weaved amongst Ava DuVernay, the actors, the actress and the #exoneratedfive that lifted my spirits. It was not only hope but it was a conversation. Heck, more like several conversations. The conversations that I felt happened at one time between former slaves and their children. The conversation that many took to their grave out of pride or shame.

The hidden secrets were being revealed and it has shifted our future while shedding light on our past.

16 Emmy nominations, millions of viewers and worldwide coverage shows that we can get the conversation started. Ah…but only when someone is willing to start the conversation. That’s not as easy as it seems. You must be willing to relive that moment of your life. I’m thankful that these men were willing to go back and collect the fragments so we are able to rebuild.

I was changed, my family was changed and the world was enlightened. My prayer is that this continues to shed light on the hidden secrets of America. Ava, continue to be the lit candle. There are many praying that the light you have continues to shine and light the candle for the next person. It’s needed so the healing process can begin.

So, I can’t end this letter without acknowledging the actors and actresses who worked hard to share this story. The fact that Ava had therapists on set speaks volumes about the place where people had to go in order to make this a success. I felt the impact that was made on the actors and actress that were on that stage. The tears shed by the younger actors was confirmation that they were doing more than hearing the #exoneratedfive. They were listening.

With each hidden secret that is no longer hidden, we are finding the cracks within our foundation. The cracks that destroyed neighborhoods and families. The cracks that continue to divide us. It’s time to rebuild and I understand that it starts with me. I’m doing my part. Not on the same level as you just yet but definitely with the same impact.

With each hidden secret that is revealed to world, there is progress. Big hugs and prayers to you all.

~ Altovise




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