When Donald Trump responding to MLB for taking the all-star game out of Georgia and Corporations speaking out against restrictive voting legislation, says, “They’re woke and woke is not good for our country. Woke is not good,” what he really is saying is: They’re talking about equality both economically and socially. They want “their” voices to be heard at the voting booth. This is not good for “us”; it”s not going to make “our” America great again. And it is “our” America, not “theirs” make no mistake about that, and they’re trying to take it from us.
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.
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!
I love the Matrix, part one that is, and while parts two and three didn’t quite measure up there are still some great moments in them. One of them is Morpheus’ speech to Zion. I always thought that speech could be used today for so many things and with race relations still playing such a prominent role in America today, with a President who fans the flames of racism, preaches hate and division and with a wink and a nod gives approvals to white supremacists. I wondered how could Morpheus’ speech be re-imagined to address this. I think I did a pretty good job.
As an African American
I am tired of seeing this play out over and over again.
I’m tired of the apologists for police brutality.
I’m tired of African American parents having to have conversations with their children about the dangers of simply being African American.
I’m tired of being told not to get angry about it.
I’m tired of having my patriotism questioned when I do.
I’m tIred of the so called liberals who join in on the hashtags and claim to be outraged but sit in silence on the topic of race and social injustice when they get around each other.
I have seen many people today, including African Americans, denouncing the protests/riots in Minneapolis, especially the looting of the Target. While I am a proponent of non-violence, it is rather difficult to expect that after centuries of oppression and the senseless killing of our people African Americans are expected to continue to march and sing we shall overcome peacefully.
Will we overcome?
We already have overcome:
Our culture being stripped from us
The loss of our ancestral history.
We are still battling.
Social injustice, but we have not let it destroy us as a people.
Now is the time for America to overcome its
Racism and Bigotry
Only then will America be the country it gave lip service to when it was founded. One where all people are created equal.
Even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood there was a time when a peaceful, non-violent protest was not always going to bring about the necessary change.
Yet another unarmed young man of color hunted and shot down, yet another attempt to cover it up, yet another attempt to silence our voice Ahmaud Arbury was only 24 years old when his life was ended for what appears to be the unspeakable crime of jogging while black.
On May 12, 1961, in Rock Hill, South Carolina. John Lewis, an African-American seminary student, and Albert Bigelow, a World War II veteran and white Freedom Rider, were viciously attacked as they attempted to enter a whites-only waiting area. Two days later, in Anniston, Alabama, a vicious mob of about 200 people bombed a Greyhound bus and brutally beat the Freedom Riders as they fled the burning bus. Later that day in Birmingham, Alabama, a Trailways bus carrying another Freedom Riders group was meant with a similar fate. These Freedom Riders were aware of the dangers they would encounter, and over several months they were attacked repeatedly. Yet, they persevered so that the racist practice of segregated bus terminals would come to an end. In the fall of 1961, their perseverance bore fruit as the Interstate Commerce Commission issued regulations that prohibited interstate transit segregation.
THE FREEDOM RIDERS STEPPED INTO THE GAP.
Through nonviolent protests, Liu Xiaobo was a human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate from China who fought against communist one-party rule in China. For his efforts, he was imprisoned from 1989 to 1991, 1995 to 1996, 1996 to 1999, and 2009 until his release in 2017 after being diagnosed with liver cancer. He died less than three weeks after his release. Despite his multiple imprisonments, he continued to fight until his death to better the Chinese people.
LIU XIAOBO STEPPED INTO THE GAP.
Razan Zaitouneh was a Syrian Human rights activist who was involved in the Syrian uprising. She acted as a lawyer for political prisoners and was one of the founders Human Rights Association in Syria and the Syrian Human Rights Information Link. She reported about Syria’s human rights violations. Razan Zaitouneh worked tirelessly for years to bring light to Syria’s oppressive regime despite the obvious dangers involved with doing so. On December 9 of 2013, she was kidnapped and has not been seen since, presumed to have been killed.
RAZAN ZAITOUNEH STEPPED INTO THE GAP.
Michael Todd has been getting bullied at his new school since the year began. He would wear the same clothes every day, and students at MLK College Preparatory School would make fun of him for it. High school football players Kristopher Graham and Antwann Garrett didn’t just go along with their classmates to be part of the crowd. On September 10, 2019, they surprised Michael with a bag full of bags full of shirts, shorts, and shoes and apologized to him for previously laughing at him.
KRISTOPHER GRAHAM AND ANTWANN GARRETT STEPPED INTO THE GAP
Every day countless individuals step into the gap. But sadly, many in a position to do the most good lack the courage to step into the gap. Last week at church, my pastor preached to us from the book Ezekiel 22:30 “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land so that I would not destroy it, but I found no one.
In Bible times, cities had walls around them to help defend them from attack. Broken parts of the wall created a physical gap in the city’s ability to protect itself from invading armies. In this Bible verse, because there is a gap in the wall, God is looking for someone to step in and guard the broken, vulnerable territory.
Today God is still looking for us to step in and guard the broken and the vulnerable. Victims of violence, oppression, discrimination, bigotry. Those who are denied fundamental human rights such as medical care, food and shelter, and education. Yet when we turn our eyes to Washington D.C., we find there are far too many concerned with themselves own self, maintaining their power, and reaping the benefits that come along with it than with stepping into the gap. We see children, the Lord’s most innocent souls, gunned down in mass shootings, yet no action has been taken to enact sensible gun control to protect them. We see mothers and fathers working two and three jobs, sixty and seventy hours a week, yet still unable to earn enough money to put a roof over or adequately feed their families. Yet, at every opportunity, the very social programs designed to help them through these troubled times are slashed, and more and more money is appropriated to building weapons of war. Racism is unbelievably on the rise again in this country. Still, far too many in power either pretend it doesn’t exist and ignore it or, worse, tacitly give their approval, so they can appeal to a base of unenlightened individuals they believe will allow them to maintain their power. Education budgets are cut, and college tuition soars while tax breaks for the wealthy are passed into law. Prescription drug prices rocket, inflating the pharmaceutical companies’ pockets while the affordable care act remains under constant attack. The gap between the haves and have not continued to expand as CEOs take home millions and workers struggle to survive, yet steadfast opposition to raising the minimum wage continues.
We are witnessing the abject failure of the very individuals we have tasked with stepping in the gap. However, it is never too late as a people to change things. United, each of our whispers becomes a mighty roar for change. We can demand that change takes place, and we can start at the voting booth. We can educate ourselves on the issues and not let some 24-hour news network “opinion” show host skew our perception of reality. We can protest racism and social injustice, and when those in power try to change the narrative and quiet us, we can roar louder. We can rise as one and let our voices be heard. We can tell them that we, not them, are the coalition of the many, and if they don’t stand in the gap, we will surely find someone who will!
Police officers in New York City were doused with water by punks, not black punks, not Spanish punks, not white punks. No, just punks; their color does not matter. They were wrong and showed a level of disrespect to the men and women who put on a uniform every day and risk their lives to protect us that should never be accepted. They should be arrested and charged to the fullest extent possible. Leaders in the community need to speak out in the loudest possible voice to condemn them. To let it be known that their type of behavior does not represent us, and our communities will not stand for it.
With that said, let us not lose sight of another issue, those who would use this disrespectful incident to justify police misconduct with memes like ever wonder why the police mistreat you. Stop breaking the law. Seizing upon the disrespectful action of a few as justification for police misconduct, no better than we an entire police force is held accountable for a few bad officers’ actions. Rather than looking to exploit the issue to create a false narrative, it is time we have a real discussion about the disconnect between the communities they patrol and the police. Let’s talk honestly about the issue of police misconduct. Like every company, government agency, not-for-profit, and the church has a few bad apples, and those bad apples need to be rooted out.
Sadly if you believe the concept that people of color can avoid police misconduct by obeying the law.I guess:
You have never been pulled over numerous times but never receive a ticket and are left to wonder if you were stopped because you were driving while black.
You have never been stopped and frisked in a low crime neighborhood while sporting an argyle sweater and matching socks. You didn’t appear to fit the profile of who they were supposedly looking for unless that profile was merely black.
You never had a gun pointed in your face while tossing a football in a white friend’s suburban backyard because you didn’t appear to belong in that neighborhood because you were black.
You have never been a 53-year-old African American male whose never been in trouble with the law. Whose palms get a little sweaty when a police car is following you while black.
All of which have happened to me.
But you’ve never been black.
Let’s stop protecting the rotten apples on the police force and applauding punks who disrespect the good police officers and have a real discussion.
Racism, misogyny, homophobia are not inherent traits of the human DNA. They spring forth from a foundation of ignorance. It is in the best interest of the powerful to ensure that the masses remain ignorant, fighting each for their piece of the crumbs the powerful leave behind. It is not until the masses come to the fairly obvious conclusion that we all part of one collective that humanity will know peace and move forward as a people positively despite our differences.