I love dualities, which is why the word Conviction is so appealing. Conviction in the legal sense is a condemnation, judgment, a declaration of guilt. Following a criminal trial, a conviction is when the defendant has been found guilty of a crime. It’s the punitive end of the justice system.
One of my go-to protest signs reads: “The whole damn system is guilty as hell”. I’m keenly aware the justice system disproportionately kills and harms black and brown people. It often treats the LBGTQIA community with contempt. Unfortunately, it works exactly as white supremacy designed it.
I take moral offense to how the justice system treats those with wealth and white skin as more worthy of humanity than folks of color or those without resources. As a lawyer, I contribute to that system and help perpetuate it. I also speak out against it and protest in the street to change it. Regardless, that doesn’t change the fact I still participate in it in its current state.
Conviction = verve
Having Conviction, however, connotes one showing boldness, bravery, and purpose. A person with conviction has verve and takes risks. They scrutinize, are opinionated. That individual takes a stance, and advocates for others. They take unconventional career paths. Moreover, they hold true to their values over lucrative careers. I have, and will always, aspire to be true to my convictions. Doing so is a process, not a data point. Having conviction is perpetually trying to be better and hold others to account.
I don’t know how I would have reacted to Ferguson if corporate America hadn’t fired me or I hadn’t taken time off to enjoy breast cancer. Corporate attorney severance pay was a privilege, but finite. No amount of talk therapy can repair your soul after two years of serial interviews. During the pause, I finished writing an unpublished book about losing my first husband to addiction. I’m currently hustling the second book I wrote about my experiences in Ferguson. I’m re-titling the book because white wokeness became a cliche before I secured another agent, aligned my chakras or engaged a personal trainer. Fucking Pandemic…