On Aug. 1, I was marching in the Emancipation Day parade along the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad, the finale of a three-week study abroad program. In addition to my classmates and tour guides, I marched with thousands of black people in ornate African clothes as they danced, sang and drummed in the streets to celebrate the end of slavery for their ancestors in 1838. Though at times I had felt ambivalent about my own black identity in a country nearly equal parts people of African and people of East Indian heritage, that day was affirming. I felt a sense of belonging I rarely feel anywhere else.
Then I came home to dead black bodies in the streets.