As I share my journey across the world, it is important to not only share my story but also to stand in my truth. My goal is to share my experiences, those that bring me joy, and those that make me emotional. Although this was a tearful encounter, it was a pleasant experience with a stranger that I will never forget.
When I see another person of color abroad, there is usually, at the very minimum, an eye exchange. When there is a connection, and time allows it, I engage in conversation.
I met this amazing man at Taoyuan Taiwan airport. I was coming from the currency counter, and he stopped and looked in my direction. I smiled, and he said, ‘Hello.” He was born & raised in the UK- Nottingham but currently lives in Ukraine. He was in Taiwan teaching and was headed to China. I should have recorded his accent because it was a beautiful melodic sound. He asked me where I was from, and I stated, “The United States.”
His eyes became enlarged and filled with emotion.
He was infuriated about the things happening in the United States- just like many people that I meet when traveling. As soon as I tell them where I’m from, the questions start. At the time, he was specifically upset about the outcome of the Erik Garner situation. He couldn’t understand how the police officer was not in prison. His mind literally could not grasp it. He stated that it would never happen in Ukraine. “We aren’t perfect, but justice would have been served,” he said.
“When people of color hurt in America, we hurt worldwide. I want you to understand that. When you hurt, we hurt.”
He couldn’t wrap his mind around the injustice in our country, why it’s allowed, and why it continues time & time again. I could hear the passion in his voice. He looked at my face as if he wanted answers, but I had none. His forehead was wrinkled, and his brows were furrowed as his face was absorbed in confusion. As I was moved to tears, he hugged me.
This sometimes happens when traveling. I have even had someone tell me, “You will be fine here; the police do not kill people here.” That statement was said to comfort me, but it is sad that our country’s climate is so bad that people feel that comments like this are necessary. Of course, people that I meet do not always ask about injustice; they ask about a wide variety of topics, but many want to know what the heck is going on in the United States and why racial injustice continues.
I wish that I could say Erik Garner would be the last time racial injustice would happen in our country, but sadly, this is a story that has been and will continue to be apart of our history for a very long time. Today, we are fighting that same fight that our parents and grandparents fought. Today we fight for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Elijah McClain, to name a few.
Did you know that one of the tallest buildings in the world is located in Taipei, Taiwan? Come with me to the top of Taipei 101. Taipei 101
What do you think about my encounter with the stranger in Taiwan?