To Monica:

Reflecting on and remembering the legacy of Monica Roberts.
October 2020

    I was at the airport. I came with friends to support those persons whom had been recently banned from entering the country by the current administration. People were being detained within the airport. Many lawyers were there fighting for each individual. The group of Houstonians that arrived there en masse came to welcome these people to our city.

    I had never been to a protest at an airport. It felt like a movie. I kept imagining the rules would be different. Entering the crowd with my poster, which read "What is this, Nazi Germany?!" I heard the president say something to that effect on television. It felt at the time like we were becoming a fascist nation by limiting diversity.

    Chanting from my chest into the crowd, I was approached by a white man in his mid-30s. He began to go on about the contextual basis of the quote and the nature of the protest. Two Muslim women standing nearby joined in opposition to his points within the conversation. While engaged in that conversation I was then approached by a Latino man in his mid-30s. He too appeared to be there not to support but to subvert.

    The Muslim women seemed to have had enough and stopped speaking to either of the men. Having two very disparate conversations simultaneously and I was beginning to feel defeated and exhausted...A hand lighted on my shoulder. I turned to see Monica. She smiled. I smiled back. Without a missed beat we were now engaged.

    She and I introduced ourselves after we'd ended our conversations. I expressed just how happy I was to see her, and at the exact moment I wished for her presence. Her being there, it was like a blessing.

    Long after she and I separated at the protest shouting erupted. A poster of a frog from an internet meme could be seen above. He was jostled and walked out of the crowd and forced to leave.

    I really didn't know how awesome she was when we met. But in the four years since that moment, I've been watching her being a leader in the equality movement for the Black transgender community.

    It was a blessing to be invited into her presence. Even if it was just having a side-by-side argument with a white supremist and his friend in an airport.