Multi-Tasking for Justice
When crowds of predominantly Black youth and young adults stood up during the last major Civil Rights movement (1954–1968), America made a political pivot. People & politicians (intentionally separated) could not ignore the voices of our future. It took time, but laws were changed and greater equity for all — including the signing of the pivotal Civil Rights act of 1964 — was realized.
Fast forward. Youth have witnessed their peers get murdered, from coast to coast. From Chicago, IL to Parkland, FL. Homes, churches and schools; once places for sanctuary; have become places of fear and death for years. Recent headlines detail how teachers and students was struck down by an enemy amongst them. Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and others were struck down by fellow citizens, too. Common in these tragedies: fellow citizens in Florida, with guns, stole lives.
We, too often, compartmentalize tragedies and battles, when we need to see the correlation. Students, families and allies of the Parkland victims must realize that their fights are similar to the families across the country, who are tired of seeing their loved ones blood flow down our streets. Chanting, “Black Lives” is a declaration against murder of unarmed people. The children and teachers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were victims of the same evil — weaponized civilians who feel empowered to take the lives of others.
Politicians suggest that more weapons solve the problem. What if Trayvon or Jordan were armed — would they be alive today? If everyone choose to carry a weapon, legally, would they be exempt from murder — unlike Philando Castile? Mike Brown, Tamir Rice & Rekia Boyd were gunned down — their killers were people who were paid to protect and serve them. Just like the victims of Parkland, Newtown,
The more guns the merrier?
Those who are calling for teacher-sharpshooters don’t see that some teachers are already ill-equipped to handle disruptions in the classroom. There are guns victims on the south side of Chicago, South Central L.A. & Southeast D.C. but I don’t hear politicians demanding more guns there. Schools with large Black populations often have metal detectors welcoming kids to school every day. The president didn’t demand they come down with the “Gun Free Zone” signs in the ‘hood. Innocent people will be injured or killed when you ADD guns to tense situations.
Just Being a Black kid can get you locked up
Separate and inequal rules apply to disciplinary practices in our schools. This national conversation about safer schools MUST also include how discipline is applied to students based upon their race and gender. You see, some teachers see Black students differently than white kids — shocker, right? They see Black youth as bigger, older and more menacing — even as White male young men and adults have been shooting up our schools, theaters and workplaces weekly.
Do our politicians realize that some teachers call the police on Black kids in pre-k? Some rather expel 3rd graders instead of attempting to understand their mental and emotional state of mind. Those who are expelled (36,000 in Cincinatti) or arrested in high school could easily be the recipient of a bullet from their teacher. If Black students are five times more likely to be disciplined than White students, according to a study from the Equal Justice Initiative, what could that mean for the teacher with a gun who is “afraid for their lives” when a Black or Brown kid shows out in the classroom?
This new generation of activists, who have been called disconnected & lazy are now being dismissed as over-emotional and not mature enough to understand the “complexities of gun laws”. They have gotten the ear of the nation, though. But, this outrage cannot afford devolve to fatigue and, then, evaporate to the next tragedy comes.
The momentum of this youth movement is inspiring, just as the resistance from the NRA and their political beneficiaries is disgusting. Who, in right mind, would suggest that having more teachers packing would help stave gun violence in our schools and on our streets? Global data disproves this mythical assertion that more guns equal less crime. The Gun Violence Archive shows that the gun issue is bigger than Florida.
Imagine your kindergartner being curious about that “thing” the teacher is carrying. Imagine aspiring elementary school teachers, who are already loaded down with school debt, being required to add shooting range certification to their to-do list. Do we need armed encampments around our school? We already have armed sentries at some schools (aka “school resource officers”). What will be the weapons of choice for these school staff sharp shooters — pistols or an AR-15?
Will moats, complete with draw bridges, be next? And, what happens when kids venture out for recess? What happens to them in that space of time between their parents armed fortresses and the schools they attend?
Imagine aspiring elementary school teachers being required to qualify on the rifle range before they can enter a classroom. I’m sure their passion is to teach with a pen, not a rifle.
Let’s keep going with this, in the spirit of safety. Convert the seatbelt-less school buses (another issue) into fortified tanks, that pick up kids right at the home drawbridge. Every home can be in a gated community (a moat could be a bonus amenity for the savvy homeowner). Parents can pack heat in those superhero lunch boxes. That would make the NRA giddy, so they will donate even more money to the politicians whom they control with that A+ rating. Is that the world you want?
The courts aren’t defending mass killing weapons under the 2nd amendment, but Congress is still beholden to the NRA-narrative that a gun is a gun is a gong. Will Congress take a stand against assault weapons? Or, will they stay safe-guarded with metal detectors & security guards in all of their buildings — with premium Healthcare we pay for — so they can safely create laws that hurt us?
We are all in this Together
It shouldn’t go unnoticed that many of the people who suggest arming teachers are also those who:
- deny climate change;
- scoff at greater access to healthcare;
- dismiss people of color and equity for all;
- reject immigrants — some who fled to the U.S. to escape violence in their homeland; and is, ironically, becoming a new normal here;
- endorse military weapons for civilians (who can, then over-power the police);
- Reject living wages for working people;
- condemn the poor;
- deny voting rights for all;
- condemn pro-choice, but stay silent when the born become target practice.
There is a clear profile of the people who reject issues that matter to all lives. The adults who dismiss the young people of Parkland, and the nation, are those who have created the policies we must end. People who simply want to realize life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are at war with those who think the 2nd amendment trumps everything else. Only heartless hypocrites will demand people are born so they can be used for target practice.
If the president HEARD the survivors, he wouldn’t suggest having teachers packing heat in our schools is the answer. He wouldn’t join others to parrot the will of the NRA.
This is a moment for all of those who want a better nation to rise up together. If we vote against those who reject climate change, we will also be voting out those who critique the new generation of youth activists who are still mourning those lives taken at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — and beyond. By voting against those who reject the mission of Black Lives Matter, or the demands from the Movement for Black Lives, we’re taking steps towards racial and social justice. We can multi-task our battles. We need to support across movements to show the strength in numbers.
We should demand the ouster of people who don’t care about ALL of us. Those who cannot vote need adults who have a heart — and common sense. Adults should be standing up with this new youth movement. They will be responsible for this nation and us in our golden years — if they can live that long. We should be multi-tasking for justice because the NRA is for No Rational American. The GOP proves that Republiteas prefer Guns Over People.
Here are some causes that could join together to defeat politicians who only care about themselves and their corrupt donors:
#KillTheNRA #EndMoneyBail #BlackLivesMatter #StopVoterSuppression #DefendDACA #StudentsStandUp #MeToo #PowerToThePolls #PoorPeoplesCampaign #MeToo #M4BW #EveryTown #ClimateChangeIsReal #M4BL #JusticeForAll #PowerToThePolls #RestoreTheVRA Stop politically-biased #gerrymandering
Your opponents want you to get weary or distracted, so they can keep their agenda of denial and discrimination moving forward. Don’t give up. Don’t forget the prizes you seek. #WeToo demand justice for all — let’s march, shout and vote together.