I defended my country, the country I love, in WWII but when I came home I was denied service at the lunch counter.
I defended my country, the country I love, in the Vietnam war but when I came home they turned the fire hoses on me when I dared to vote.
I defended my country, the country I love, in the Iraq war but when I came home the police still stopped and frisked me for no reason.
I am a person of color and I joined the military and I am veteran today because I love my country.
Yes I love America but America has not treated me fairly. America has enslaved me, segregated me, denied me the right to vote, denied me equality in housing, wealth opportunities and education. It has jailed me at in-proportioned numbers. Slowly I have seen things change, gotten better. But these changes did not happen by themselves I had to stand up to the country I love and demand that it lives up to the promise that it was founded on – All men are created equal. I did not stand up to America because I hate it. I did not kneel in solidarity because I disrespect it. I did it because I love my country and make no mistake it is as my country as much as anyone’s because despite the obstacles I had to and continue to endure I continue to create breath taking masterpieces, inspire others in literature, art and music. Produce life saving breakthroughs in science and medicine. I continue to achieve great things each and every day and with each step I take forward I leave an indelible fingerprint on the very fabric of a country.
So no matter how hard some may try I will not be silenced I will continue to shine a light on social injustice. Continue to demand that America live up to her promise. After all dissent is the highest form of patriotism and I love my country.
I have grown tired of the endless back and forth. I have grown tired of having to defend my right to shine a spotlight on the killing of Men of Color without also having to prove I’m not anti-police. I have grown tired of certain segments of society telling me to stay quiet, to not protest, to not interrupt their day to day activities, to simply turn the other cheek and move forward. Yet here I am again today watching the news and there it is predictable as can be, individuals like Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani using the tragic events of Dallas to denounce Black Lives Matter. Here I am again today going through my social media feed and seeing an increase in the number individuals posting the hashtag All Lives Matter and while it is true all lives matter we need to be honest and real about why the hashtag All Lives Matter became a counter response to Black Lives Matter.
First by saying Black Lives Matter you are not stating that other lives matter less or don’t matter at all. It never was. What Black Lives Matters does is call attention to an inherent problem and that is the senseless killing of Men of Color by those who have been charged with protecting the public. Now let me be clear, because there are those out there who would jump on that statement and call me anti police, which could not be further from the truth. To be a police officer, to know each day you risk your life so society as a whole can be a safer place takes a special person. However there are always bad apples in any group and even if it’s only 1% of the nation’s police force the spot light must shine on that 1% until that 1% is stripped of their power.
Those who blame the senseless killing of five police officers on Black Lives Matter either don’t get it or don’t want to get it. They are the real race baiters. No person of color who says Black Lives Matter wants to see any officer of the law killed. Communities of color did not celebrate the death of five good men we mourned it. As we mourn however we cannot let individuals like Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani take a tragic event like Dallas and through the power of the media attempt to silence our voices against police brutality. It is not about getting over it and moving forward. It’s about this country no longer pretending that there are not very real issues that need to be addressed. It’s about people no longer using the lame excuse that by calling for the end of police brutality you are anti police. It’s about finally having a brutally honest conversation about race relations in this country.
So understand that while All Lives Matter countering Black Lives Matter with All Lives Matter is like bursting into a cancer fund raiser and saying hey Heart disease is a problem too you know. It’s true but it really is missing the point.
I’m mad this morning.
Mad because yet again our justice system has turned a blind eye and refused to afford the African-American community even the opportunity to see justice served. Remember this was not a trial. This was not a case where guilt needed to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This was a Grand Jury proceeding and to bring an indictment in a Grand Jury proceeding one does not have to find guilt, only the probability that a crime was committed, that the accused person did it and that he/she should be tried in a court of law. Yet despite what appears clear to most – that there was the probability that a young unarmed man was gunned down without cause – this Grand Jury found otherwise. I have said it before and I’ll say it again I have the utmost respect for the men and women who each and every day protect and serve us as member of police departments around the country. But when an individual who is trusted with the power and authority of a police officer commits a crime there can be no debate, it is our moral and legal responsibility to hold that officer to the same standards of accountability, if not higher, as the standards we hold any ordinary citizen too for their actions.
Mad because once again the narrative this morning as FOX NEWS displayed across their screen is ANARCHY IN AMERICA – CHAOS IN FERGUSON. Make no mistake about it FOX there is anger and sadness but it is not only in Ferguson it is nation wide and yet we did not wake this morning to America in flames. Rather we wake as a country this morning mostly to the resigned acceptance that this decision while disappointing was predictable. Let’s be clear here the reaction in Ferguson was unfortunate and uncalled for, it will not bring back Michael Brown, it will not bring justice to his family nor will it be a catalyst for much-needed changes in the inherently flawed American justice system. But it is simple physics you can only keep a lid on a boiling pot for so long before it finally blows. You can not continue to tell a people over and over again for hundreds of years that your life and the lives of your loved ones are not as valuable as that of the next person simply because of the color of your skin.
Mad because while I have seen countless videos on YouTube of young white men interacting with police, refusing to show identification or state their name because they have constitutional rights. Young black men across America everyday live with the reality that a simple choice could cost them their lives, a choice that wouldn’t have such an outcome had they been born a different color. An illegal turn, the wrong choice of clothes, walking in the wrong neighborhood, being seen with too many friends of color in one place.
Mad because this country still has to deal with the ignorance of racism and if you think it doesn’t, if you think Ferguson isn’t about race, go read an article on any website today about Ferguson then skim through the comments section at the bottom. After that read come back and let me know if you think racism is dead.
One of the main reasons America is great is its diversity and how that diversity has come together in one place to achieve great things. One of the main reasons America is flawed is the basic ignorance of those who refuse to acknowledge that fact
I’m mad this morning and in reality it’s because I’m sad.