Dear PETA, Mess with My Family Again and This Mamma Bear Will Turn Demon
Bullies. They come in all forms — mean girl, jerk at work, corporation. Non-profit. I’ve written about bullies before, when our daughter was the target of one. Today I will write about another bully. This one is PETA.
Many who have spoken out about PETA’s killing of animals have been bullied by them so the fact that it’s happened to me will come as no surprise to those folks. For now I can’t go into detail about their attempt to get me to stop spreading the truth but I can say that they tried to get me to shut up in the most offensive way possible. They tried to get to me by going through my family. They attempted to put into jeopardy something that is sacred to us, the loss of which would do harm to all of us. I want to be very clear that there has been no physical threat or intimidation and we feel one hundred percent safe.
Here’s the other thing I want to be very clear about and this is my direct message to PETA. You have not scared me. You have not scared my family. I am not sitting down, I am not shutting up, I am not going away. I will continue to speak the truth. I will continue to fight your killing at every turn. I will continue to tell Black Boy’s story, to give him a legacy of compassion and non-violence. By trying to get to me through my family you have done exactly two things. You have, once again, revealed yourselves as the biggest bully on the playground. Here’s the second thing, you have made livid a mother bear. I honestly do not care what you say about me, or try to do to me, but when you try to get to me through my family and, by extension, my children, then you are treading on my sacred territory. I am now that mamma bear standing tall on my rear legs, claws extended, roaring, because you tried to put my cubs into jeopardy. The one thing, the one thing, anyone who knows me will tell you is that you never, ever want to mess with my family. Ever.
On a gorgeous Minneapolis morning, our last day home, my husband and I ran our first half-marathon. We’d done the distance many times but, as I learned, it’s different in a race. One thing I did to help me stay strong was dedicate my miles to people and animals in my life. I ran the final mile of the race for Black Boy. As we neared the thirteen mile mark this song started to play
I began to cry. I cried because I was exhausted, I cried because I had to keep going, I cried because I’d dedicated my mile to someone I should have fought for. Now, here’s the thing, it’s really hard to run while you’re crying. I was gasping for air, trying to see the path through my tears. I gathered myself, told myself to just run and I could cry later. I began to sing instead. Because this song, above all others, has been the one I’ve sung to myself when I think about the battle being waged over truth and killing.
And all those things I didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain, I will scream them loud tonight, can you hear my voice this time? This is my fight song. Take back my life song. Prove I’m alright song. My power’s turned on. Starting right now I’ll be strong. I’ll play my fight song. And I don’t really care if nobody else believes, cause I still got a lot of fight left in me. Like a small boat on the ocean sending big waves into motion. Like how a single word can make a heart open. I might only have one match but I can make an explosion.
We rounded the corner to the finish line and I saw our children. My pain began to fade as I watched them jump and cheer, the absolute embodiment of joy. Our youngest, who is eight, started to run next to me. He looked up at me, all smiles, cheering and shouting, his hair carried by the wind as he ran. He stopped after a few seconds and motioned with his arms, as if to push me across the finish line. I crossed with the love of my children, with my husband by my side. And I crossed with Black Boy in my heart.
At around ten miles my legs, fatigued because my torn calf had only recently healed, began to feel like dead weight. I looked at my husband and said “I don’t think I can do this.” He smiled and said “of course you can, you never give up.” And I don’t. And I won’t.