How much longer must we live under the cloud of injustice that continues to, without fail, take black lives? Here we are another day and another black man has been killed in cold blood at the hands of those sworn to protect us. I vowed I wouldn’t say anything because my energy is sorely drained, but in the face of what we all know to be gross misconduct, how can I keep quiet?
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I cry. My heart cries. Everything within me cries. Not just because this father and husband isn’t around anymore to support his family and enjoy all that family is. Not just because we have it on video and still, due to precedence in situations like this, the pigs who committed this crime will probably not even be indicted. I cry because I think of the moment Alton Sterling knew his life was about to end. I think of all the many times he probably watched the news about the systematic killing of black lives in America and prayed to God that it would not be his son; that it would not be him. I cry because I have two black brothers and a black significant other whom I worry about every single time they leave the house. I cry because a boy, who was trying to be strong for his family in the face of losing his hero, broke down crying on national television because he just lost the greatest man he’s ever known. I cry.
Police violence against black people is beyond out of control. It taunts us, and we fear for our lives every second of every day. To my brothers and sisters who find it hard to stomach this situation, we cannot turn our heads even though it hurts. I know it’s easier to stay off social media because not seeing means we won’t think about it. But we have to think about it. More than that, we have to speak about it.
I once believed that the way to stop this- the systematic killing of black people by U.S. law enforcement– was to be a nice little black girl who obeyed the rules and did what she was told. I figured if I show that I am complying, then that would keep me from dying. That notion, while perfectly fair, cannot stand up in the heat of the moment. No amount of reasoning will ever save your life when face to face with individuals who practice abuse of power at the highest level.
So how do we stop it? I’ve come to the conclusion that it rests on the shoulders of the ones doing the killing. It takes nothing to not shoot a person or to use another course of action to gain control of a situation. The way these white cops continue to take black lives is a condition of the heart and what they believe our lives are worth. It is a condition of their minds and how they view us. It is a condition of their actions and what they choose to do when faced with policing us. The killing of black people will not stop unless those in authority stop doing it. The burden is not on us. It is on them!
For the white people (and non-white people) who have something to say about those of us who are angry right now, in the words of Jesse Williams,
“If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.”
Whenever these situations happen, and there is an outcry against police and brutality, some folks say that the details have been sensationalized. They proudly defend law enforcement because “not all cops are bad.” Well, here is the thing. Just like you believe all cops aren’t bad and want us (black folks) to act accordingly, I say to you, all black people aren’t bad. So damn it, YOU, and the people that you put on a pedestal, need to act accordingly.
What another sad day in America. An America that looks at us side eyed when we abandon Angelo Saxon holidays like Christmas. An America that calls us ungrateful when we bring up the fact that the fourth of July, for the Negro, is nothing to celebrate. An America that says, “Lace yourselves up by the bootstraps and do something with your lives” but then pumps crack into our neighborhoods DESTROYING US.
This is America, and this will no longer do.