When a segment of a society willfully marginalizes another segment is not surprising to see unrest. It is not surprising to see the very foundation that it was built begin to crumble. It is not surprising when it starts to crumble from within; For society’s good, the masses must rise and denounce those who spew racism and bigotry. Reject what makes them different, listen, and learn about each other and embrace their diversity. A diversity that has made them stronger. Only then will society be able to say with one voice this the true spirit of our humanity; these are the thoughts, insights, and musing of an everyday African American on the state of race relations in America today.
OUR LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED OUR VOICES WILL NEVER BE SILENCED
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The Derek Chauvin verdict was finally justice but let be clear we got Justice today, now we need change tomorrow. We need to come together as a people, people of all colors, and make those who preach racism uncomfortable. Uncomfortable so that they have no choice but to swallow their racism because it will no longer be accepted. Uncomfortable so that they are ashamed even to be seen because we will rebuke them at every turn. Uncomfortable because the America they knew, one of hate, racism, and division is gone and that all people will finally be treated equally. Today was just the first step. We must keep marching.
The first time I held you and looked into your eyes, I saw myself looking back at me only with innocence and optimism that has long ago been stripped from my soul. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you, no lengths I wouldn’t go to protect you. Tears filled my eyes the first time I held you. Those around me took them as tears of joy, and make no mistake, the joy I felt at that moment was overwhelming, but sadly the tears also represented guilt, sadness, and fear. Guilt that I had brought you such a bright light into such a dark world. Was my desire to have a child selfish? Was I only thinking about my wants and desires and putting aside how this world will treat you because of the color of your skin. Sadness because I knew all too well how it would, that no matter how brilliant you may be, how much hard work you put in, how good a person you are, the challenges ahead of you will be daunting, challenges others will not have to face but will be there every day because of the color of your skin. Fear that one day my phone will ring or there will be a knock at my door, and someone will say to me the words that no parent should ever hear you have been found shot and killed—killed because of the color of your skin. How many more parents must, on what should be unquestionably one of the happiest days of their lives, look into the eyes of their baby and be consumed with worry that no matter how much they try, they will not be able to shield that baby from the ugliness that they will confront? How many more times must we mourn the loss of another bright light extinguished by hate. How many more times must our communities echo with the sound of grieving parents as they stand over the lifeless body of the child they once held in their arms before we say enough! I look back at your smiling face and the innocence in your eyes and see a bright future with unlimited potential ahead of you that they will try and deny you of. At the moment, I make you a promise that as long as there is my breath in my body, I will protect you and do everything in my power to ensure no one takes that away from you. My blood flows through you, I am responsible for bringing you into this world, and it is my responsibility to protect you from its hatred. Our bond is forever. You are my child, and I will always love you and be there for you.
The movie character Rocky Balboa said It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.
You have hit us hard.
Shackled us in the chains of bondage
Lynched us under cover of night
Brutalized us for the color of our skin
Beat us when we demanded to be treated as equals
Oppressed us economically
Marginalized us socially
Devalued our lives
But we keep moving forward.
Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. We are a unique people; our indomitable spirit keeps us moving forward in the face of all things done against us. It is a spirit that not only keeps us moving forward; it has protected and strengthened us. It is a spirit that screams WE ARE BLACK EXCELLENCE!
The echo of gunshots filled the air. And the young man’s lifeless body fell to the ground.
The cries of I can’t breathe filled the air. And the young man’s lifeless body fell to the ground.
The howls of disbelief filled the courtroom. And the defendant walked free once more.
The sound of silence filled the halls of the city, state, and nation’s capitals. And those in power did nothing yet again.
For centuries, our lives have been devalued by those who see only the color of our skin.
Have we not helped build this nation? Have we not fought for this nation? Have we not shown time after time our love for this nation? Have we not been every bit the American that you believe yourself to be?
Because of your hatred, your racism we must scream for the world to hear that Black Lives Matter because, for 400 years, you have demonstrated that to you it doesn’t. It isn’t a logical mentality, but it is true.
The chains of bondage could not break us. The whips could not break us. The burning crosses could not break us. The dogs and fire hoses could not break us. The knee on our necks could not break us. From the moment you saw us, you have tried to break us. Why? Maybe it’s because the moment you saw us, you knew we didn’t walk, we didn’t run, we soared. You knew we would never get caught in the rain because we soared high above the clouds, and there was nothing we couldn’t accomplish. Did you fear that? Did you think your hatred and violence would make you better than us? Did you think we would go away? Have you not seen that we are a people of extraordinary character? Have you not recognized that after centuries of trying to break us, we are only getting stronger? Have you not realized that our hearts, minds, and souls, that which is truly ours, can never be taken from us, can never be broken? Do you not see We are Black and We are beautiful.
How dare you believe that you can question our patriotism when we kneel to bring light to the killing of our people. When we have fought, bled, and given our life in EVERY war this nation has seen. Only to return home and be treated as a second class citizen. How dare you suppose that you can tell us it’s not Black Lives that Matter; it’s that All Lives Matter when you have shown a disregard for our lives for over four hundred years. How dare you assume that you can tell us how I should protest when yet another person of color has been struck down. At the same time, you dress up in paramilitary outfits with automatic weapons and storm state capitols to protest a lockdown designed to slow the spread of a deadly virus so that you can get a haircut or go to Starbucks. How dare you think you can infer we are anarchists when you applaud a 17-year-old boy with an automatic weapon roaming the streets and call white nationalists very fine people. How dare you presume you can say anything when for over 400 years, you have benefited from our oppression You cannot begin to know the extent of our sorrow, pain, and anger due to the systematic racism you have cultivated for four hundred years. How dare you!