After my young son is asleep in his bed, I sit with the lights out listening to the rain and the helicopters overhead. It must be the third night this week and there are more protests planned. The helicopters used to bother me, but now I hold on to the sound as I follow events on Twitter. #oakland, #ericgarner, and of course, #blacklivesmatter. It feel so frail, so tenuous, that little set of words. Like holding ones hands in the air, or gasping for breath. It matters, but it's not enough. On my way home I watched the streams of people heading downtown and felt my work slacks and leather pumps profoundly, but everyone just smiled in a friendly way. I won the birth lottery in terms of entrenched privilege. Cisgender, straight, white, middle class, able bodied, a U.S. citizen, and so on. But still I fear the Oakland police. That's why I should be out there. What scares me might well be lethal to my neighbors. Instead I head home, see my husband off to work, feed my little boy, put him to bed, and then sit in the dark feeling as frail and permeable as that hashtag. We have been taught to fear each other. I admit to feeling it sometimes. But if we can see our own fear and know it's learned, we can unlearn it too. The story we as white people tell ourselves, that our justice system isn't perfect but it's better than most, needs to be unlearned too. The system doesn't work at all if it doesn't work for everyone. A society where some lives are valued and others devalued based on the accident of birth is profoundly, simply, and completely unjust. But what can someone like me do? Give money, speak out, show up. I want something more. Moments like these arise, but the systems of power quickly close ranks, wait them out. How can we keep the pressure on? What tangible, powerful, symbolic, institutional change must we demand? I cannot stand by anymore and let others do this work.