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How am I supposed to concentrate?

How am I supposed to work when issues that affect my family and me arise every day?  

How am I supposed to focus when I am reminded as I drive down the street of the disconnect between me and my two-year-old in the back seat and the man tailgating me, or when my husband gets racially profiled as we prepare to host the first-ever family-friendly business retreat?

Tell me how I am supposed to concentrate when I am reminded every day of where I stand. There is a riparian a couple miles from where we live, a little gem just up the street, but the last time we were there, we saw a group of people who made it clear we were not welcome there.

How am I supposed to concentrate when I see people being murdered when scrolling through my Facebook feed? In some of the videos, you can actually watch them being shot and left for dead. To you, it may be a stranger, but I see my uncle, my cousin, my brother, my son, and my husband.

Tell me how am I supposed to concentrate at work when I heard my boss react at the murder of a teenager in 2012 by saying "I'm surprised" and then carrying on with his day while I sit silently, melting away as my little Trayvon baked inside of me.

How am I suppose to focus when my husband, the man in the rolled up Banana Republic chinos, has been pulled over, strip searched, pepper sprayed, pinned to the ground, and held up by the people hired to protect him and the people who are supposed to protect us? It has been not one, not two, and not three but four times that their assault rifles have threatened his life - twice in front of his house while talking on the phone with me and two other times while driving at night after getting off work early. Imagine my fear when he's driving alone and I hear sirens in my ear. I say a silent prayer and take a deep breath when he says the police just passed. Kai, drive slow, be safe and come right home to me.

Please, anyone, tell me how I am supposed to concentrate as I see footage of Donald Trump rallies and know that with every word, every sentence in this horrible reality show, the white supremacist group in my neighborhood begins to grow? They're stronger, bigger, and, in their heads, more certain that my family and I do not belong here even though we work our asses off, own companies, pay taxes, and have family members who have paid the ultimate price. What is this 1963?

We purchased this house back in 2008. At the time, it was a beautiful community, right off the beaten path, but with the crash in the housing market, things have slowly started to get bad, and as more and more renters move in, we start to make plans for when we can move away, but we can't do it yet, nor why should we? My family deserves to be here.

But, we know we will have to be the ones to leave because there are more of you than there are of us. If not, then why aren't more people speaking up? Is it because it's not your husband, or because it's not your little boy? Regardless, your silence is loud.

And as if that wasn't enough, I am also a CEO. I have a business to run. I need time to think. There's always someone with more chasing me. More money, more time, more resources, more opportunities to grow - and I have to stay focused. But how can I work when I have life going on all around me?

One day I stepped out and took a chance. After being cut off by a man with a big Confederate flag, I decided I had had enough. I called the police to report the racial epithets on the sidewalk on our walking path, the gas station we visit weekly, and the 20 Confederate flags that lined the exit to our street. The officer told me she had good news. The group who was responsible for the tension was new and harmless. They were just a bunch of young vets who loved their country.

I sat there silent and then said, "I'm scared. I have a two-year-old in there" as I sat in my car in the garage unaware of where to go next. She replied, Mrs. Anderson, like I said, there's no need to fret. The police are on it. They are not a threat. I have your number, and you have mine. If things change, I'll reach out. Until then, try to unwind. It was at that very moment that I realized we were alone.

As always, I picked my head up. I had that retreat. I worked on client projects and decided not to allow her words to sound like defeat. But, it is hard, and a constant struggle, to focus on work when life is happening all around me.