Voices & Flames in the streets — Will America listen this time?
It is exhausting to be Black in America.
The voice of a protestor when a reporter asks why she’s protesting: my mother “Was born right before the civil rights era. To have her see this all over again…movement. It’s been solved 50–60 years when she was born. It should have been solved when MLK was marching in these streets. But, the fact that we have to still be out here doing this same old dance, all over again….We’re tired. That’s where this emotion comes from. I have two brothers — Are my brothers going to be next?!? That’s the next question. That’s the best answer I can give you.”
That message is the reason many people are marching in all 50 states and around the world. That’s not the message of an opportunistic looter, but people who want America to honor its mission and vision of liberty and justice for all. Periodt.
Citizens trust officers to protect and serve them. If those citizens in Minneapolis (and elsewhere) didn’t trust the officers to protect and serve — and they had myriad reasons not to trust them— they could have attacked those officers to free George Floyd so he could get his breath again. Imagine the survivors remorse many must feel. They knew the history of the police force. They heard Mr. Floyd pleas. They witnessed a policeman murder an American in broad daylight while his colleagues allowed it to happen--again.
Commissions, task forces & studies have been established to find solutions — for decades. Two notable reports reflect today’s sickness.
1968 President Lyndon Johnson’s Kerner Commission.
2015 — President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force final report:
“Raheem.ai is the independent service for reporting police in the United States.” That tool can be a resource to get more stories reported, so an officer who has multiple previous complaints filed against him might get taken off the street BEFORE the next complaint takes a life.
America has been sick for a long time.
A Seattle officer is captured using the same restraint that killed George Floyd. Another officer forcefully removes his knee. As seen by Matt M. McKnight, Crosscut.com
Criminal policing tactics, racism, anti-Black racism are pandemics that too few, with the resources, want to cure. And, it’s leading to collateral damage. No one is exempt from the impact of racism, even if anyone can be part of ending it.
Imagine if your doctor diagnoses you with a disease. She prescribes you medications to curb the symptoms, but it isn’t the cure. You take it the prescription, but you are still, technically, sick. She offers you some proven strategies, which could be the cure, but you reject it. You rather just work on the symptoms because the cure will require a lot of work and some sacrifice. So, you decide to get a new doctor, another opinion, with “new” cures. He doesn’t. He rejects your medical history and the previous doctors recommendations. He only prescribes cures that profit him and his colleagues. So, you suffer while the disease spreads.
America has been infected with the disease of racism for so long it forgot it was sick. Political/physicians and researchers, who have studied this disease and its symptoms for years, offer cures that go ignored. Some political/physicians have embraced cures, locally, which has helped heal the nation; incrementally. Then, other political/physicians are elected. They fail to understand — or WILLFULLY ignore — the recommendations from previous political/physicians. Or, they stop the treatments altogether, so, the disease spreads further. That is political malpractice!
That lack of a sustained commitment to eradicating anti-Black racism & racial injustice is at the root of why America burns today. There’s no real cure when there is no sustained commitment.
America, Heal Thyself
America has sent and settled troops all over this planet. Some of the support has been welcome, some has been deemed colonization. The “purposes” are supposed to help “liberate” countries from perceived tyranny or inhuman conditions. The irony is that we have proclaimed democracy as a cure to injustice there, while becoming less democratic, here. Our infamous Civil War was based upon the aspirations of justice for all. No one state could be allowed to enslave. The perceived goal was to not allow people like Governor George Wallace into state houses; but we did. And now we have a president threatening Americans the same way Gov. Wallace once did.
It is more proof that we haven’t removed the plank from our own eye, while, allegedly, removing the speck from the eyes of other nations.
The world sees that we are still sick. We proclaim that we have the cure, but won’t take our own medicine. So, the majority of the people of this nation are re-creating holistic & radical solutions. Some in holistic, healing & spiritual spaces start the new year with a “burning bowl ceremony”. Attitudes, negative thoughts and actions of the past year, that you don’t want to bring into the new year are written down and tossed into the flames of a bowl or put; hopefully, never to be repeated.
Using fire to respond to injustice isn’t new; neither is anti-Black racism, racial injustice and white supremacy. When people are fed up by what they witness, their passion is inflamed — if they are compassionate people. MLK’s assassination led to burnings. Rodney King’s beating by police — caught on tape — led to burnings. It took a police man’s knee to the neck of George Floyd — causing his death. One more death ignited the passions of millions who didn’t even know him. That’s how religions and reforms have started around the world.
‘Rona & Justice
The generational major flare ups, stoked by racism, are exhausting. I pray that this is the generation that won’t tolerate it. Millions risked the COVID19 pandemic to confront the pandemic of anti-Black racism — which has plagued this planet for much longer. Only one of these pandemics has governments & experts working night and day to find a cure.
I really believe that there is no “return to normal”. We have seen to much pain. People have suffered too much. I know, too, that every generation has prayed for a better life for the next generation. I that pray this pandemic called racism has met its match with this generation. They will hire better politicians/physicians to help get to the cures.
Use the 🔥 wisely!
Inflamed passion can produce productive OR destructive outcomes. Both can get attention, but all attention doesn’t lead to to the successes we desire. Indeed, there are some who want attention, but, elected officials who stoke bad flames are as guilty as the extremists they condemn. It’s worse, when elected “leaders” ignore (and covertly endorse) the hate that started the fires in the first place. Property damage is collateral damage. Unfortunately, buildings regularly get more attention that bodies in America.
As activist/artist Killer Mike said, “Now is the time to “Plot Plan, Strategize, Organize & Mobilze. Don’t burn down your own house.” The people are speaking — some opportunists are taking advantage of the moment. Wise people can see through the smoke.
Fifty states have had people stand up for justice. People stood in the face of #covid19 and racism; two pandemics plaguing this country & world. That eclipses the handful of people who brought long guns to a couple state capitols, seeking to have their bars & tattoo parlors re-open. opening. I believe the right physicians — a more just people — are in charge now. They won’t quit. I have hope — even in the flames. Periodt.