He’s an insanely intelligent, courageous and warm-hearted man who is book and street smart. Some of my favorite attributes (about myself) have developed as a result of our relationship. He’s not only my boyfriend, but my best friend. And it’s become a little too much to handle. Only because when he leaves, other girls are the least of my worries. It’s the boys in blue.

As a kid, hearing sirens (to me) meant that someone was going to receive the help they desperately needed. I understood the stigma that existed about police, their treatment of black people and other people of color. And I was under the impression that, for whatever reason, those situations would never happen to me or the people I love.

Well, they hadn’t. Not until I was about 16 and my brother was watering a neighbor’s yard at dusk. As a classical pianist, his hands are his work, so he wears gloves while doing yard work. I often peered through my blinds to check that he made it across the street okay. I’m extremely motherly, can’t really help it. As he bent over to grab the hose, I left the window only to catch the reflection of red, white and blue on my bedroom walls. I ran back over to the window and saw that as he turned to face the lawn, he was greeted by guns drawn.

I screamed for my dad and so did the next-door neighbor of the woman who lived where my brother was watering the yard. Three small flights of stairs became one as my dad sprinted for my brother’s life. Two officers in two separate cars were there to address what a neighbor reported as a break-in. I’ll never forget their body language as they came back into the house. They made it out of the situation alive, nevertheless, with shoulders hunched due to an increasingly heavy burden of being a black man in America.

My parents valued our sense of blackness before we even understood the concept. Attending an elementary school in the heart of Inglewood, owned and supervised by a loving black couple is one of many reasons why I’m proud of who I am. Middle school was the first time I was a part of a multi-ethnic student body and it was amazing. My passion for social justice and culture budded there, and I’ll always be grateful.

Similarly, my high school was fearlessly progressive. People of all backgrounds, heights, learning levels and styles shared a humble lot in Santa Monica, a place I’ll always call home. I’ve had a very fortunate upbringing and educational experience. My thoughts were challenged and my passions were fueled, starting at an early age.

So when events like the Oscar Grant shooting, the task-force attack of Ronald Weekley and the Trayvon Martin murder took place, I was emotionally scarred and physically drained. I couldn’t imagine how men who were just trying to get home could have their lives nearly or actually taken on the principal of a BART scuffle, riding a skateboard on the sidewalk or wearing a hoodie.

According to Huffington Post and The Counted, 194 black people were killed by U.S. police between January and June. Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Keith Lamont Scott, Terence Crutcher and more have followed. Thankfully, my outrage has been matched by the likes of other passionate activists and many well-known figures. Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers demonstrated his frustrations when he first sat during the national anthem. Artists such as Alicia Keys and even Beyoncé, whose Super Bowl performance was inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter and Black Power movements, gathered to convey a video message about the issue.

Despite their actions and those of many communities all over the world, it’s still happening and we’re exhausted. I came across a tweet this week that perfectly summed up how many black people are feeling:

police brutality
Photo: @phildeeznuts via Twitter

As a lifetime resident of Oakland, my boyfriend has seen his fair share of violence. He’s almost become numb to a lot of the killings, even of those close to him. Although we haven’t really discussed whether he worries about run-ins with the police, I know he does. I can remember him sharing with me when we first started dating that a group of policemen stopped him and his friends and shoved their faces into the ground, all to search the car for a gun that was never there.

He’s a gentle giant who coaches football and analyzes data about how social behavior and tragedy lie hand in hand. He’s never broken the law, he’ll barely even buy a drink, but somehow he and every other man who has been wrongfully targeted are discriminated against on the basis of “law enforcement” or the grandfather of profiling “stop and frisk.”

I imagine that he sometimes gets tired of how often I want to see him. It’s only recently I shared with him I was afraid for him to leave because I wasn’t sure he’d make it back. How I’ll conquer this fear, I’ll never know. But in the meantime, I’ll love him extra and continue to share my feelings in hopes of connecting with others who are passionate about these social injustices and inspiring those who still don’t get it.