He was quiet, and she was worried. “You don’t have to come today.”
“And waste this sign?” he said, shocked. “Are you kidding?”
She studied him, trying to figure out if he was really as confident as he acted. She could see dry scabs on his hands and his chin and knew that there were deep bruises all over his back. He was still moving a bit slowly, a bit stiffly, and he would wince whenever he took a deep breath. The protest was marching to the statehouse again today. The same place the police had given him those injuries.
“I’m just saying, no one would blame you if you were scared about—”
A gentle smile made her pause. Such a warm, unexpected expression. He stepped close, taking her hands in his. “I’m doing what you said. No more fear. No more hate. If I have hope, they can’t hurt me in any way that matters.”
Together, they walked into bright sunlight, stepping almost immediately into a stream of protesters. There was anger on faces, but also resolve, love, and even joy. He lifted a sign above his head. In large black letters, he’d written, Today is a New Day.