The Cost of Truth

The Cost of Truth

Before I went to prison, I purchased a necklace from the Sundance Catalog ( The necklace, as you can see says Truth in English and Arabic. It was a time in my life when I stood on my truth and accepted the choices I made and the consequences for knowing and acting on my truth. When I saw this simple but power necklace, I bought it because I wanted to be reminded that there is a price for truth. That cost is sometimes deadly.

truth necklace_front truth necklace_arabic

The question was posed on Sunday by the minister (I know church keeps coming up and I’m like this church lady what are we going to do?), “What are your fears? What are you afraid of?” She explained that we all probably have a long list. The message was about the cost of standing up and on truth. As she explained the price for our truth is what we are most afraid of, because in the end we might pay for it with physical wounding, or in our psyche and/or soul—we could pay with our life.

What am I afraid of?
Truth: The tiny little Black girl, not yet two, standing at the bus stop with her father and baby brother who was in a stroller. The dad slapped the little girl as many of us stood on 14th & U Street NW waiting for the 90 bus. She cried silent tears. I was listening (and this is eerie) to Nina Simone’s The Desperate Ones. “They walk in silence. They cry in silence. They disappear in silence.” I watched the little girl; silent tears streaming relentlessly down her cheeks. She walked over to Baby Brother in the stroller and dripped her tears on his hand as she lifted it to her mouth and kissed him. The father told her to sit on the bench and she just stood stone still. He then yanked her by her little arm, and slammed her on the hard bench.

-“Be gentle with her,” I hissed.
-“What”, he yelled. “Why don’ chu mine yo’ own business. Bitch!”
-“I said, be gentle with her.”
-“What tha fuck are you gonna do? Bitch!”
-“I’m going to call 911. That’s what I’m going to do. And I said BE GENTLE WITH HER!”

My teeth were clenched. I spread my legs apart and stood firm. And he said, “Yeah. Police ain’t gonna do shit. You gonna make a call and then I’m gonna make a call and who gonna have tha worser day?” I smirked. “Let me tell you something,” I said. “You don’t know me. Anything you are offering to do to me, it’s been done. I’m not afraid of you. I spent four and half years in prison and I am still here.” Then I stood taller glared and said again, “Now. Call who you want but be gentle with her.”

There were lots of people at the stop. An older Black woman walked over to me and said, “You sho is right baby girl.” Another woman nodded and smiled at me and a man with a cane walked up to me as the bus approached, “Look sweetheart you gotta be careful.” I laughed and said, “I just look like this trust and believe I ain’t nobody’s bitch and that man is just a bully to little kids.” He nodded his head, looked me in the eyes and said, “I see you. Trust me when I say I see you. But chu sho need ta be careful.” What were they afraid of?

The father continued to call me various bitches and so on as I boarded the bus.

I did not stand on truth. Why was I afraid to call the police? Lately I have had too many interactions with the PoPo because of the violent sociopathic roommate and the shady apartment complex and I was not willing to sacrifice myself for the little Black girl more than saying, “Be gentle with her.” This is the only truth I could manage. What I really wanted was to pick her up and tuck her in my sweater and run. Run so fast and far away. Because once I was a little Black girl and my mother and stepfather beat me and humiliated me in public and nobody ever said, “Be gentle with her.” And so I do not know how to be gentle with me.

What am I afraid of?
Truth: Dying as painfully as I have lived.

What am I afraid of? Truth:
Killing myself because life is too painful.

What am I afraid of?
Truth: A life that passes before me in disappointment like, The Jilting of Granny Weatherall.

What am I afraid of?
Truth: That no one will ever love me, because mother said it was so.

What am I afraid of?
Truth: Never seeing or holding my son again. Ever.

What am I afraid of?
Truth: Discovering that I can speak the truth and make change and goodness for everyone but myself.

What am I afraid of?
Truth: That I am strong, lovely, and loveable, but too damaged beyond repair.

I carry the physical, emotional and mental scars of standing for the truth. One of my advocates said to me last night, “It’s a calling and you have it. You just have to know the truth and keep speaking it.” I will, but at what cost? My sanity? When will it be better?

I will continue naming the perpetrators and poverty pimps, not for myself—the damage to me is already done—but to make it better for the next person. For the little Black girl.

And you. What are you afraid of?


Amme Voz


2 thoughts on “The Cost of Truth

  1. This is a powerful piece, and very courageous. I posted it to my FB page because I think it’s truth is important.

    Please don’t give up. This world needs your voice!!

    Love and prayers,


    On Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 6:28 PM, ammevoz wrote:

    > ammevoz posted: “The Cost of Truth Before I went to prison, I > purchased a necklace from the Sundance Catalog ( > The necklace, as you can see says Truth > in English and Arabic. It was a time in my life when I stood on my truth > and accepted “


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