“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person will die”— Anonymous —
With all due respect to the anonymous who penned this platitude: F*ck no. Just, no. Anger is not poison. Anger is a natural, reasonable, healthy emotion. Having anger is not bad; it’s what we do with it that counts.
When I think of the Civil Rights Movement, of Angela Davis, Susan B Anthony, of the 1900s working-class men and women of the Bread and Roses Strike—who fought and died for a 40 hour work week and for factories that didn’t explode willy-nilly—when I think of every fight for justice and equity, I see anger. Anger that had to be held onto and sustained in order to create change and beauty in the world.
Anger is grief, they say—and I won’t argue with that. Anger is sorrow and pain.
But anger is also love.
When I think of Elizabeth Smart, who suffered monstrous atrocities at such an innocent age, and how she continues even today to speak and educate, I see anger. When I think of the fact that Elizabeth Smart reached out to Polly Klaus to offer advice and a piece of her heart, I see love.
Anger born of love is what fuels me right now. I loved my mother and sister, and because I loved them, I am angry.
There was great grief when I visited my mom and sister’s graves this past weekend. “I’m sorry,” I told them. “I tried so hard. I did the best I could, but I still failed. Even though I know it is not my fault, I feel so bad. I feel so bad. But I am not done trying yet.”
I am speaking to accomplish 5 things:
1) To build community awareness and support, so that when 20 years from now, the psychiatric hospital and court seriously consider releasing the monster who killed my mother and sister onto the streets, perhaps the community will remember. Remember what he did, remember who he took, and remember what is at stake should he be allowed to return to life.
2) To give a voice to Sunny and Sabrina who were physically silenced in life, and figuratively silenced in the courtroom.
3) To keep their legacies alive so that not all of this was in vain.
4) To let other victims of violent crime know they are not alone. I see you.
5) To hopefully, one day, create much needed change in our justice system.
To everyone reading these words, to everyone reaching out with their condolences and words of support, thank you. To everyone who shares, reacts/comments with love, thank you. You are helping me accomplish these goals. You are helping me use my anger to make something beautiful.
With sincere gratitude,