This week’s feature post is a speech I wrote to other African American millennials entitled “The Call”.
It seems as if we’re fighting the same fight that our ancestors fought centuries ago; the war on racism. While it’s sad, it’s also expected.
It’s also not exactly the same fight.
I believe that as racism has aged it hasn’t diminished; it’s just gotten wiser. It’s found ways to hide among the shadows of our society. It’s not that there aren’t any more prejudice politicians, police, or other officials. They’ve just found a great way to hide themselves in plain sight.
Contrary to popular belief, hope is not a sign of weakness nor naivety. “Hope” is the only star that shines through the smoke of the tear gas as it pollutes the night skies of Minnesota. What’s happening in Minneapolis is just a microcosm of the unrest that much of the black community is feeling across the country.
“Hope” is also the intersection that Malcolm and Martin both crossed paths at. How they got to that intersection is what made them different. However, what we are facing today is the 2020 version of a systemic racial divide and it is significantly different than what our leaders before us have faced. Mainly because the oppression can also afford camouflage.
As a result, tactics and responses of today should be different than the tactics and responses of yesterday.
Peaceful or violent.
Strength is in organization, not peace nor violence.
At least that’s what I think. Peace and violence can both co-exist through order. Beautiful chaos curates the harmony needed to be heard.
Rioting without strategy is the same as a peaceful protest without direction. As the smoke settles and the cheering ceases, the sun rises on another day without progression. However, both operating as an extension of its own order can be powerful. Again, that’s just my perception, but it’s a vision that I see clearly.
Unification is what powers the powerful. Ironically, it’s also what has powered our oppression. Like the oppressors of the black community, organization along a unified front creates a peace that is violent enough to be heard. The two can co-exist.
It’s called humanity.
Humanity; a concept.
Humanness, Benevolence; words used to define humanity.
It’s an idea that life transcends the senses meaning that how someone looks, feels, talks, or thinks should not determine their ability to taste the sun.
It’s a belief system that operates on the “right to live”.
Humanity, as a concept, believes that although a murderer sits behinds bars, he or she is still offered food and water for nourishment. It believes that amidst the elements of famine, crime, health emergencies, and other disparities, communities can trust their local governments to be a safe haven against destruction. Humanity believes that every person, regardless of color, gender, or orientation deserves the absolute best that the universe can offer them in that moment.
It’s a non-partisan and omnipresent ideal that we are all equally protected under the coverings of a constitution that is far beyond the jurisdiction of the United States of America. This is a mandate between the universe and its people. We must not take that for granted because no man nor woman is great enough to live beyond the reproach of murder. Life and death is a dark task that carries a responsibility that transcends race, gender, and creed. This is a mandate between the universe and its people.
With neighborhoods polluted by strategically dismantled laws and regulations that create unfair advantages against citizens of color; on the basis of humanity (or, the lack there of), we have come to this point, at this defining moment.
The stars and stripes can no longer pretend to be vibrant. The American flag, tattered and mangled, no longer flies in the wind as a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.
The American flag, tattered and mangled, has become a symbol of hatred among the tyranny of a culture. On the axis of humanity, the unrest is certainly justified. However, justification is not enough to warrant change. Ironically, neither is peace nor is violence.
Unification is the only way to warrant change.
It has been said many times before and it will be said many more; there’s a call on the black community. It’s a convoluted task that without clarity gets mistaken for aggression.
It’s a call that requires health officials of color to revisit their industry’s protocols and ensure that their brothers and sisters are accounted for. It’s a call that requires African American politicians and political professionals to ensure that their brothers and sisters of African American communities across the country are unequivocally protected by the law.
It’s a call to African American professionals within the education system to review all protocol for strategy to ensure that the African American students and educators within the system are given a fair opportunity to maximize their success. It ensures that our school systems within communities of color are equally tended to as in communities of other races.
It’s a call to every member of law enforcement to thoroughly investigate their protocol for policing African American communities and to destroy any disparities between the policing of other communities. It’s a call to those same law enforcement professionals to revisit the dignity of their duty, thoroughly analyzing the badge that they honor and the oath that they took. Then comparing their daily tasks with the aforementioned and answering the question if they are adequately serving their communities; answering the question of whether or not little black boys and girls could rest at night knowing that they too are as safe as their classmates in white neighborhoods.
It’s a call to my colleagues in media to ensure that your public voice is in fact a part of the solution as opposed to curating a distraction; beware that entertainment treads a thin line between distraction and stimulation.
It’s a call to our community leaders to organize your communities and to be thoroughly abreast with what you all need. It’s a call for those same community leaders to locate disparities in opportunities offered in Black communities compared to other races. It’s a call to our brothers and sisters of the financial industries to review your protocol for African American relations and to ensure that our community is offered the same opportunities of financial growth as others.
It’s a call to legal officials of color to revisit how the legal system views your complexion.
If you don’t like how you are being viewed from the eyes of your own industry then I hope it brings you to tears and creates a pain that answers ‘the call’.
It’s a call for brothers and sisters to study your industries. Become experts in the “fine print” that exists to distract your necessary attention to equality. It’s a call to organize our frustrations into legislation to be adopted, creating a legal fortress that surrounds the value of our well-being. It uses the benefits of the constitution to negate the potency of racism.
Renewed focus on the organization within our communities gives the oppressor a dose of their own medicine.
I’m fully confident that after reviewing the world you live in you will find discrepancies between African American rights and other communities. The fact is that no matter how sad the disposition, the fight against racism hasn’t even hit noon yet. It’s a battle that has taken many forms across multiple generations but a “one size fits all” solution is not compatible in this situation.
We will need to constantly refocus and reshape our legislation to ensure that every year we turn the calendar, our children will be afforded the same opportunities as their white counterparts. My sons and daughters, with whom I have not met, will not have to beg for their lives. To beg for life is the saddest way to use our voice and it’s not something that I plan on doing for long.
Your voice takes many different forms; I know politicians, entertainers, law enforcement agents, educators, students, parents, athletes, clergy, health officials, scientists and other black professionals. I’m familiar with the many faces of black culture.
Each of those faces has a voice. Together, we are a choir. Apart we are chaos. Our voice is how we tell our story and as Maya Angelou shares, “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
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