Inequality and racism have been the bars that have imprisoned Black people of the world for centuries and although we’d like to believe times have changed in the past 155 years. The harsh truth is those bars still exist today. The chains have been removed, but ask yourselves: Are we free?
With the help of social media, citizens have taken to filming the acts of police brutality and posting the videos online for others to witness. These victims who are shot, beaten, arrested, and mistreated are unmistakably Black. The supporters of #BlackLivesMatter are the driving force of this societal change. Speaking the names of our lost heroes, and chanting in unison “No Justice, No Peace” from one side of the world to the other. These heroes are encouraging equal society and anti-slavery in all aspects of life.
As Viola Davis quotes as Professor Keating in How to Get Away With Murder, one of the only television shows to premiere with a leading black actress, “Slavery is branded into the DNA of America,” and it began in 1619 in Jamestown Virginia. ‘The White Lion’ brought 20 slaves across the ocean to the British Colonies at the start of the New World. These slaves were cotton pickers, tobacco growers in the fields, and maids to the white man. Blacks began to rise up through ways of rebellion and grew in size near the 1800’s, gathering to eliminate slavery. Very few rebellions were successful and never short of bloodshed. Supporters of slavery feared blacks and believed that slavery was the only way to contain their power and discipline. To strengthen the slavery codes, whites limited education to the ‘minority’ races and ruled against large public meetings between people of color. They feared the strength of influence.
It was only after the American revolution, that the first call for the abolishment of slavery took place. Abraham Lincoln had a plan: free the slaves and our armies will prevail in war. And so, on January 1st 1863, Lincoln issued an emancipation proclamation stating that slaves within any state be free forever. This act freed over 3 million enslaved people and at the end of 1865, the 13th Amendment officially abolished slavery, followed by the 14th and 15th Amendment that provided slaves the right to equal protection and the right to vote.
But what happens when African Americans rise up and receive a degree of American political life? There is a rebirthing of white supremacy that encourages the use of violence and takes action to renew the old ways of “Great America”. We see this exhibited in recent generations through racist organizations such as the “Ku Klux Klan” that began in 1877 and has yet to be demolished. America has been blessed with revolutionaries such as Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Malcom X, Martin Luther King, Oprah Winfrey, Tupac Shakur, Maya Angelou, Barack Obama who gave Blacks a strong voice in the media
Why do black lives matter? Amidst the mass of current protests for “No Justice. No Peace” there lies a fraction of naysayers and eye rollers who are tone deaf to the wants and desires of their people. Let’s not call them racists, but rather the anti-equalists. They argue that “People die every day” and ask “Why should we protest?” Then finish with “All Lives Matter.” So…Why do black lives matter? Simply put. #BlackLivesMatter BECAUSE all lives matter. Why should black people need to prove their importance? If you need an explanation as to why one race deserves the same rights as the next in a democracy, take a look in your mirror and ask your own reflection. Why does YOUR life matter?
Democracy means shared power. It means everyone can participate, even the people you don’t like or understand. The problem comes from people who feel threatened by that notion. Though the Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal, American government has quite often excluded certain groups, and violently. Showing peace and compassion is the only way we will find the answer. Should we decide to stand by in silence, we are all equally responsible for the actions of the person beside us. Millions of people are dying across the world. Deaths that are not televised but could have been prevented. It is time for us to join together for a cause greater than ourselves: the future of the human race.
We were not born to hate one another by the color of skin. We are not born with hate in our hearts. Those characteristics are taught and led by example. As is Love. It is easier to give in and give up when the odds are against you, but realize that WE are not the ODDs. We are stronger, and WE outnumber THEM. Our love outweighs their hate. This is not a “black issue”. These choices and actions affect us all. We have the power to stop it.
Speak up against racism. Meghan Markle said it best, “The only wrong thing you can say is nothing at all” Your voice is your power. Do not choose to ignore the voices of people who desire change in the world. We have faced a global pandemic that does not discriminate against white, black, Hispanics or Asians. COVID-19 erases the lines of racial differences and affects us all as HUMANS. We wear our face masks as a sign of cooperation and protection, but we’ve had an invisible shield over our mouths for centuries, and the time has come to pull back those barriers and overcome the fear of speaking out against adversity, racism, and brutality. If you see something, say something because OUR lives do matter.
We live, breathe, and die the same yet African Americans have been the chosen targets of physical violence by our government officials. With the introduction of this new revolution, the leaders of this union need to also band together to stop these tactics of separation. The world is listening, and what messages you choose to share matter. You can be your own hero! Speak freely and speak proudly. We have been silenced for too long. The lives of our children matter. The future generation matters, and the remolding starts with us. We will not be silenced. Every day our movement grows in numbers and strength. To those we’ve lost, speak their names and honor their memory as the heroes that started the movement. Then stand proud and honor your own name, for you are the saviors that fight to keep the world from falling backwards into the shadows of the past and you face the challenges that others are too afraid to stand against.
Do your research! It is never too late to educate yourself on your rights. Knowledge is power. For example, the white house was built by slaves and owned by the people for the people. The president is a figure head sheltered within public housing for 4-8 years, and the people inside are there at the bequest of the nation. They are there in servitude for the people of the United States. The revolution of 2020 is bigger than a battle of the races. It is a war between the judicial system and those it’s meant to protect. Having equality is only a piece to a much larger picture. Use the tools you have been give to strengthen your mind. Know your rights, the laws, and your history. In our world today, Blacks have ownership. Felons can vote, and women have rights. Now it is time for the Laws to be rewritten to match the demands of the rising generations that will impact unity, equality and peace for all and ensure punishment for those who advocate for racism and inequality. There was a time when reading was outlawed. Minorities— maids, slaves, commoners— were whipped, beaten, and punished for attempting to read. Libraries, bookstores and search engines are the tools you have available to you at all times. We need to design ways to put people in the position to create change. You can be a leader, a teacher, lawyer, governor, mayor, or even president. To change the world, we must change the way we see the world. This world may have started with one man, but it was created for the people. White Supremacy is a belief system created by white supremist, formed out of fear of all other races, and adopted by us as we questioned our worth in this nation. But I raise my fist to this. “We are not the minority. We are the MANY.” And we must remember that this is OUR world.
Remember to vote. Know your states’ voting laws, it’s rights, and election dates. Educate yourself on those running for public office such as senators, congressman, mayors, sheriff’s, judges, and governors. You have the ability to make the change you wish to see by electing candidates who serve the best intentions of you and your people. Your vote is essential. When you choose to be silent you give up your right to complain.
If you took the initiative and marched the streets in service of #BlackLivesMatter in memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless others, you also owe it to them to stand in line on election day and cast your vote to change the world. Make America Greater by changing the narrative. #THEHUMANRACESMATTERS our flag bleeds red, white, and blue, but for the last 3 ½ years, our country has been adulterated by Orange.
Moving forward. The people have lost trust in officials. We should not fear a man with a badge, and yet, we find ourselves praying at the wheel at the sight of police lights in our rear-view mirror. They were once heroes who “catch the bad guys and protect our neighborhoods,” and we honored them. When did it become ok for a man to glorify killing and shield himself behind a badge as justification to be a murderer? Our first responders are responding first without asking questions. Mothers should not need to educate their black children on safety precautions to take when approached by a police officer. The blood spilt will take great effort on the part of the police force to wash away. It falls on them to re-introduce themselves to the people, and to go into their communities and re-build the trust and loyalty of the citizens in their neighborhoods and cities. We should know the people who protect us. In an emergency situation, my first call should not be my mother, but an officer whose sole purpose is to protect and serve. However, I find the roles in reverse. Readers, keep in mind that not all police officers are twisted. The acts of one are not the acts of many. However, those who casually stand by and turn a cheek to brutality, deserve to be punished equally.
Protest safely. In light of the violence and looting that has taken place at peaceful protests, do not attend a protest alone. • Be aware of your surroundings. • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth, and close toed shoes that you can run in. • Bring a water bottle and charge your phone in case of emergency
Ways that you can help right now. Here are some of the actions that are safe at this moment and can make a positive difference:
1. Sign petitions
2. Send an email of complaint
3. Text JUSTICE to 668366
4. Call your mayors, governors or department of civil rights