It’s quite horrifying the world we live in. Black people are target practice for police officers, the face of American racism is no longer hidden, and the lines between color are becoming more and more visible.
The month of July has so far brought the death of three unarmed black men (that we know of) Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Alva Braziel, the intentional shooting and death of 5 police officers, the unlawful arrests of protestors in Baton Rouge, and even a racist threat against the President of the United States by a former Congressman…. And it’s only July 11th.
As a woman of color, sitting in the midst of all this turmoil, all I can say is that I’m hurt. I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I feel lost. Yet another hashtag brought to my attention, yet another story of an innocent black man killed by the badge, another stomach turning video of his murder caught on tape, another horror movie for the black community to wake up to.
What’s even more disturbing are the deaths of black men and women at the hands of police officers, that go undocumented. How many more are out there that don’t have video evidence, or didn’t have their name become the next trending topic on Twitter? Who’s fighting for them? Who’s saying their names?
How many of us have been killed, and left in the shadows of a corrupt police department?
These questions haunt me, as I try to navigate the world hoping to have my faith renewed in humanity. But consistently I find myself falling short. Never did I ever think I’d relive the times of my ancestors and see the Klu Klux Klan hosting public rallies, or see a black man questionably hanged in the same space soon after. Never did I think I’d see dedicated protestors be arrested without their rights being read to them and without explanation of their charges. Never did I think I would find myself boycotting businesses or wondering “Am I next?” each time I step out my front door.
Never did I think I’d find myself feeling angry around white friends and co-workers, wondering if they even know what it’s like to constantly be aware of your skin color and the effect it has on others. Do they know what it’s like to feel rejected? Do they know what it’s like to wake up and see their people murdered on camera? Do they know what it’s like to have no trust in the American justice system?
Never did I think I’d be able to speak out, and share my thoughts on police brutality. Never did I think I would have to.
We are now reentering the times of blatant, public racism and are staring in the eyes of systematic oppression more than ever. We have always known these institutions of racism existed, but
now no American can chose to close their eyes to it. To be blind to the circumstances of people of color, is to be content with our senseless deaths. To preach #AllLivesMatters, while we scream out #BlackLivesMatter with tears in our eyes, is to be content with silencing us. To appropriate our culture, and refuse to uplift our culture, is to be content with using us for your own personal gain. It is not just up to black people to change a system of oppression, we never had a hand in creating. It’s up to all of us.
So even in the face of these scary times, I trust that all of this evil serves a purpose. We’ve buried the topic of racism under the rug in this country for hundreds of years, but now that rug in on fire. It is during times like these we recognize our own strengths, we recognize our value, and we recognize our purpose.
We can no longer just sit by and die. We must take a stand.
We as black people are important. Our lives are important and they matter. We can no longer accept being Amerikkka’s footnote any longer, we too have fought to build and protect this country. We deserve to have our lives respected, we deserve to be treated like human beings.
We each have to answer the calling of this fight, we cannot just let another hashtag fade to the back of our memories. We are all capable of spreading awareness, protesting, pouring into our communities, and using our platforms for good.
So even thought you may feel helpless, powerless, and frustrated, it is time to channel those feelings to make a difference. That could be you sharing your thoughts via a blog (like me), creating inspiring music, or organizing a protest in your neighborhood, we all have a place in this fight. And there’s no better time to fight than right now.