I’m exhausted but I “Can’t Sleep”. There’s too much work to be done in our communities, we are on the brink of annihilation if we don’t band together, come together and stand up for our rights as a black community – as human beings.
Stay tuned….coming soon the debut of Can’t Sleep by Assata Afua
Cause I’m longing for a collective agency
For a black revolution
An active movement
A call to arms
Let’s sit in
Revolt for what’s right
Against this constant struggle
For equality and justice
Or there will be no peace!!….
Well, as it turns out – I am as guilty as many people are regarding continuing the fight for justice. I am equally mortified at myself along with those who have systematically continued to wrongly take the lives of black men all around the country. Why? Because when the television cameras went off and the glorified coverage ceased after the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases, I (as well as many of you) went back to our lives as usual. I neglected my blog post regarding events around the world that were affecting black communities. I stopped researching accounts of police brutality (which by the way continued even after the media coverage ceased). Regrettably; when the media decided everything was fine, when they sucked all the sensationalism that they could out of these tragic events and implemented “the spin” that everything was back to normal in the world, I fell in line, followed suit and quieted down.
“The protesting pressure”, as I affectionately call it, stopped. The marching stopped, the organization of leaders disappeared once again to their ivory towers. Holding conferences on how we can get through the turmoil (together) stopped. For all intents and purposes everything was ok in the black community. We went back to life as usual – with the sad assumption or disbelief that we had achieved our goal of equal rights, civil rights, and justice for those wrongfully murdered. Sadly, there was no justice achieved and in both cases the individuals were not even charged.
Now fast forward to April 12th, 2015. Another young black male murdered. He was not gunned down nor was he choked to death, but young Freddy Gray suffered a torturous death that no doubt was long and painful. To sever someones spine in multiple places as well as crush someones larynx, is definitely not a quick suffering. Now we’re back to square one in the city of Baltimore, MA.
Commentator, Ed Gordon made a comment on a radio program (Steve Harvey Morning Show) which struck me as bothersome. He called for the individuals in Baltimore to stop rioting, take a minute and be silent. Isn’t that what we have been doing? Haven’t we been silent for the past 30 years? Sitting in this pseudo comfort, afraid to make waves for fear that we will be seen as agitators, trouble makers and in turn be on the end of a retaliation of some kind that may result our own brutal murder or but possible police harassment.
Although the systematic devouring of our black males in no way began just a few years ago, we just recently began our public outrage in standing up and saying “no more”. We began our outrage in Ferguson over nine months ago, with a mayhem that may not have lead to the arrest of the perpertrators i the Michael Brown or Eric Garner cases, but clearer had an impact on getting some changes made in the law enforcement positions and security amongst a police department that proved to have obvious racial problems for many years. As a people and as a community, we united as one with fostered momentum in the eyes of evil and danger. We stood collectively shouting from the highest pitches of our voices “Black Lives Matter!” and we did this day after day, week after week, month after month. Untiring and uncompromising we held vigil after vigil, rally after rally and march after march. We cross state lines to come together at the nation’s capital gathering at a moment’s notice and insisted on change.
But at some point we failed ourselves and neglected to keep the pressure strong. This fight will not end in a week, a month or a year. This fight for racial equality will take years of pressure, years of continuously keeping the issue in the fore front of the media and keeping the pressure for “the wrong type of law enforcement officers” to be held accountable for their actions.
The media coverage should not be a gauge for call to action, our desire to fight for the black and brown communities, our brothers, our uncles and our sons should stay constant!
The community and the nation all feel that there is nowhere to turn. Photographer – Stephanie Strickland
*What type of a world do we live in?
The world we live in today is becoming cruel, inhumane and downright incorrigible. We sit back and allow these hate crimes to continue and they continue because it’s a known fact that there is no penalty.
In the last ten days I have been knocked off my feet with the blatant injustice shown towards my people in the black community. The failure to indict in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases escape any rational thought in my mind. The concept of excusing a police officer that uses excessive force and shoots an unarmed man six times is unimaginable. The concept of not pressing charges against an officer who had so much hate and rage inside him that he actually use physical force – his bare hands- to choke an unarmed man to death and yet the state grand juries in Missouri and in New York come to the decisions that there was no probable cause to charge either of these officers for these killings.
My heart aches for these families, water wells up in my eyes for the pain they must feel. The shrill in their voices as they make statements to the media while attempting to present a brave face simply cut me to the core.
Eric Garner’s murder is the most troubling to me.
Do you realize how long it takes to kill someone with your bare hands? Do you realize how void of humanity you have to be to stand one foot away from someone who is yelling “I CAN’T BREATHE!” 11 times and you do nothing? This was not a taking of someone’s life in an instant with a gun, as in the case of Michael Brown. There were multiple opportunities for that officer to release Eric Garner’s neck and he would still be alive today.
Another troubling factor in both of these cases is the fact that both Garner and Brown (by witness and video account) were conceding. For centuries the universal sign for surrender has been to put both hands in the air. Although witness accounts state that both Eric Garner and Michael Brown both exhibited this old world conceding gesture – the officers either were oblivious to its meaning or blatantly ignored it.
As I reflect on what this world is becoming (has become) it is disheartening. I find myself asking:
*Are police being trained to protect us and our communities or are they being trained to inflicted pain on us?
There was a time when the police officers in our communities were a part of the communities that they worked. They were respected as someone who was invested in maintaining a safe place for their own themselves and their families and hence yours.
*Where did those conviction go?
Unfortunately the general consensus in today’s society seems to be summed up by a statement made by former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani on Meet the Press with Michael Eric Dyson November 23, 2014. Giuliani suggested that “white police officers wouldn’t be there if you [blacks] weren’t killing each other.”
This is an egregious statement that only fuels the narrow minded and allows officers to feel that they can in fact get away with murder.
Although it appears that justice is not on our side we have to continue to stand up for the rights of our fallen brothers. We have to demand justice for everyone who has been treated unjustly by those that have been given the responsibility to protect us. Justice is disbanding specifically in the black community and currently we are being systematically annihilated – let’s not grow weary of the struggle – our legacy is on the line.
Stay Strong in Peace, and Love and in the Struggle!