Waiting for Tonight

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Person of Interest

Eunice woke up and looked at the journal lying beside her. The words on paper were written by a scared little girl.

What now?

The last news update called her a Person of Interest, wanted by the FBI just like Aunt Angela had been 1970. Right or wrong, living this way was insane. She played out the possible outcomes of staying underground. Be a fugitive forever, do nothing to help her father in jail and never see Sam again. They all led to dead ends.

What would Angela do?

“Why Eunice, the last time I saw you, I swear you were knee-high to a grasshopper. Look how grown-up you are!” Angela said, “Come here and give me some sugar!”

It was high school maybe grade 11.

“I’ve missed you,” Eunice said, hugging her.

Eunice was old enough to appreciate having this ass kicking freedom fighter woman in her life. She bragged about the cool factor and used Angela to give her street cred. She loved when school mates asked if they could meet her.

“Ahem Eunice, I looked it up at the library. Angela Davis was only associated with the Panthers for a short time,” Gabrielle said, staring at her with hands on hips.

“Sure naysayer, but she’s been accused of being a Panther so many times she may as well have been one,” Eunice responded, half-joking, half-pissed that Gabrielle called her out.

The Panther code was, enough with laying down and waiting for the world to be fair. It had worked to inspire and get Eunice fired up.

“To take back Black Power, one needs to act with militant boldness, which sometimes includes violence,” Angela said.

Eventually, Eunice granted her friends permission to meet Angela. One of her favorite stories was the one about Huey P. Newton. She asked Angela to tell it.

“A man got pulled over by police. The Panthers had been patrolling for police brutality. Lord knows they were brutes with weapons and acid sharp tongues. The police were none too pleased with recent infringements on their procedures while the Panthers had read up on their constitutional right to not only bear arms but the right to observe police operations. Huey riled them up when he acted on his right to witness arrests. Of course police threats and nonsense were immediate but Huey stood firm. He let them know he’d studied the law, which he recited line by line as they searched the man they’d stopped. He stood with his law book in one hand and a gun in the other reciting his constitutional right to carry an unconcealed weapon. Folks crowded around flabbergasted at his gall,” Angela said.

“What happened? Did they arrest him later for something he never did?” Arisbel asked.

“Surprisingly no. That’s what most of us thought would happen. The flustered cop was so confused, he got the hell out of there,” Angela said.

“That was way back in the 1960s, we need to pick up that revolution!” Terrence said.

“True. First of all, if you’re gonna talk about a revolution, you have to have people who are brave and physically able to stand up. People who are able to do what is needed. You all have a positive attitude and change is still most effective through organized activism,” Angela said.

Whenever Angela told Huey’s story, an internal fire burned in Eunice’s chest. She imagined the sensation as true Panther energy, a genetic blueprint she had birthright to and permission to use for justifiable revenge.

How brave the Panthers were, to stand twenty paces watching police arrests, while reciting civil rights. The difference was the Panthers had enough facts to take risks, while Eunice had none. Depending on which avenue she took it would be a shell game. She had one chance to guess which option had the pea under it.

With that power in mind, Eunice had come up with the plan for their involvement at Booker T. She had been the ring leader all along but was guilty for not thinking through all the possible outcomes. She had been a coward to flee the scene of the crime? Angela would tap into that power.

Her internal power had nowhere to go, like Carrie White in Chamberlain, Maine eventually it would escape restraint.

“But Angela how do you get to equal rights without the violence?” Terrence asked.

“Oh, is that the question you were asking?” Angela asked, “When you talk about fighting for civil rights, you might think violence without realizing the real content of any kind of confrontation lies in the goals you are striving for not how you get there.”

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