The Soul of America

Izaiha Ellis
6 min readJan 7, 2021

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“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”

On March 1st, 2020, the late Representative John Lewis spoke these very words on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The same site where years prior, then activist Lewis, led Black Americans on a peaceful protest that fundamentally wanted one thing to come from the necessary trouble they were causing: equality. The day would be known as Bloody Sunday.

In the election cycle that just transpired, and honestly for the past four years, myself, and millions of Americans heard conservatives and the President of the United States warn against loss. Loss of what I am unsure, and as a Black American I can only fathom what delusions of grandeur have done to White Americans who choose to perpetuate their self-prescribed bliss, however; this fear of loss has created, kindled, and now I fear will sustain a fire that I am also unsure of how Americans will subdue.

As I watch White people storm the capitol building, tear down the outside barriers, and break their way inside the chambers — all while police standby — I am in awe. I am not in awe because what I am seeing is at all shocking to me, but rather because I am finally seeing what Black people have known of Whiteness all along come to fruition. That Whiteness veils those who wield it with impunity, and allow the abandonment of the same rules and standards that are applied to all who do not share the cloak, is clearly on display.

What I find most troubling however, is that many of the far right are using rhetoric similar to that of John Lewis when describing and justifying the acts of the people who have decided to go against our democratic practices and beliefs. Right-leaning media outlets, and the individuals who have committed the acts many Americans are seeing through screens today, truly believe all who stormed the capitol are acting within the rights granted to them by the constitution. For these people, today’s acts will go down in their minds as a day when they had enough of the establishment and acted to protect what this country owes them: freedom and respect.

Freedom and respect are values I have grappled with as a Black man my entire life. Specifically, being values I wonder if are truly afforded to Black Americans. Being recently graduated from…

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Izaiha Ellis

Thoughts and experiences my own. Spokesperson for myself.