Before you read the piece below I’d like to thank Trudy from Rendezvous En New York for writing this for my blog to share with you. I would love to be able to write something on the subject but the truth is I couldn’t do it justice. This is Why #BlackLivesMatter is Necessary and I hope you enjoy it and take away something from it.
Let me preface by saying I write for a travel and lifestyle blog, but it doesn’t make politics or current events any less vital to me because if it. This is my reality as a Black woman in the United States and although I choose to focus on the lighter hearted material at Rendezvous En New York, some things have to be discussed and can’t be glossed over or made to be inconsequential.
On the whole in America 2016 has been significant so far for a number of reasons. Trump, a reality television star, failure of a businessman made to be the Republican nominee for the office of President of the United States, even though the party was embarrassed during every second of it. The presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, for the Democratic party, is a woman even though there are still discrepancies on the margin of the win.The end of the two terms of the country’s first Black President and the tally of 136 black people and counting have been killed by police, even though we only represent 13% of the country’s population, but a black man is 13x more likely to be shot by a police officer.
As I type this out, two more shootings have happened, I’m sighing so heavily because I am so tired of watching the news and seeing nothing change over and over again. Each time there is a murder of an unarmed black person here we go through the same steps in response. First, we see the video from either a cell phone, surveillance video, or the body camera/dashboard camera of the police officers committing the crime. Then with excessive force towards an unarmed person who isn’t resisting approached them with hostility. And finally, while they are complying shooting them point-blank dead.The officer is then arrested, tried by a grand jury which is usually filled with law enforcement and let go with a paid leave vacation and no charges.
The argument and portrayal of the victim is always the same and the excuses for the officer are plentiful and flimsy. “Why was he resisting? “, “He wasn’t an angel, he had a record” as if any of those reasons justify being shot to death while unarmed. The victim becomes victimized for a second time while the officer gets a pat on the back by other officers. Being Black in this country on a daily basis leaves in an unspoken fear to do the most menial of things. Going to the store and playing with a toy gun, can get you killed. Having your child play in the park in the daytime can get him killed. Pulling out your wallet in a traffic stop can get you killed.
Celebrating the night before your wedding, going into your own apartment, doing your job, selling cigarettes, asking for help after an accident, going to church, and on and on. Stupid things other people take for granted can be the last thing you do. We live in that tension everyday.
How do you think we are supposed to feel towards a country and a system, that shows no regard for our lives at all?
We as a community are fed up and fired up, and it isn’t blacks alone. People are waking up to the injustices and double standards happening all around them. Case in point is the mass shooting by Dylann Roof last year at a Black Baptist Church in Charleston, South Carolina after he executed nine people at Bible study. He was gingerly handcuffed, placed in a bulletproof vest, and taken to get fast food before he was taken to prison. WTF!! And in comparison Micah Johnson a Black veteran of the U.S.army, killed five white officers and summarily blown to bits because they couldn’t see another alternative. I’m not comparing the crimes but just the perception of eyes on the crime about the suspect. Black are seen as more hostile, more dangerous and more menacing at all times, even to the point of irrational fear. That was proven this past week, when Charles Kinsey , a behavioral therapist, tried to get his autistic patient back inside of an assisted living center. The patient holding a truck, held his hands up in the air while on his back to show no threat. He was still shot.What excuses can be given when the police officer was asked by Kinsey, “Why did you shoot me ?”
And the officer answered, “I don’t know”.
And when the subject of Black Lives Matter marches comes up filled with the anger we have built up at watching the repeated slaps in the face towards getting no justice for the slain; what other option do we have? We’ve gone the legal route so many times to be proven to be seen as illegitimate citizens, that we are still considered ⅗ of a person or property and our so-called freedom was on paper alone. Throughout this country’s history, we have asked to be put on even ground just like everyone else and it has never been addressed. Comparatively, we are paid less, represented less, given less and hired less just because of how we are born. Is that the democracy that the US wants to spread to countries that they invade? Seems like the policy internally mimics the foreign one.
Making our point by proving our lives matter in this grassroots non-violent movement to make everyone aware that minorities that are current forty-five percent of the country’s population are tired of being an afterthought. Black Lives Matters movement isn’t breaking any laws, just using their first amendment right to protest, freedom of speech, peacefully assembly and petitioning the government about redressing our grievances. And our list of grievances keeps getting longer. Isn’t that what this country was founded on after all or is it different because my face isn’t the same color as George Washington’s? As the reddest of rednecks likes to remind everyone while waving his confederate flag, “This is my constitutional right!”. And yes it is even though the Constitution wasn’t written with the representation of any people of color, it is mine as a natural born citizen of this country to make sure you know and everyone around the world that we refuse to walk with blinders any longer.