The mirrored deaths of Black men at the hands of police officers and the recurring failure of our justice system is psychological warfare—a systemic attempt to crush our hope, to extinguish our spirit’s fire.

We cannot control what the world does to us. What we can control is how we respond to it.

What we can do now is to mentally arm ourselves against the psychological warfare being waged against Black people in America. What we can do is create space around our hearts; put a barrier between our spirits and all this trauma.

We respond to death by living. Self-love is my call to action. Self-preservation—by any means necessary—is my civic duty. Self-care is my activism. It is our responsibility, now, to live big, full lives. It is my responsibility, now, to myself—and only to myself—to survive. To breathe deeply. To allow peace to take up all the space in my heart.

James Baldwin explains, “to be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious, is to be in a rage almost all the time. So that the first problem is how to control that rage so that it won’t destroy you.”

We are here because of the strength of our ancestors hope, because they did not let their rage destroy them. If we allow terror to take over our bodies, we light the match to our own church, we wrap our arms around our own necks, we pull the trigger. We pull the trigger. We pull the trigger.

I have shaken with rage and choked on grief for the loss of Black lives more times than I can count. But this time: my body remembered, and asked me to spare it. Rage in your body will kill you, too, if you let it. All that anger is a sickness. They can kill the body, but they cannot destroy the soul without permission. This time, I refuse to give them permission. I encourage you to do the same.