But let’s think about this, what is our ultimate goal? To be heard, to change the system, and to create a country that is inclusive, and one that is accountable to the needs of all it’s people, right?

Black America is angry. And rightly so. Our children, our fathers, our husbands, our brothers, our neighbors, our colleagues have been gunned down time and time again on the streets of the United States without so much as a blink of an eye by the perpetrators of these violent acts. There is a big problem when we cannot even trust the individuals who work to serve and protect our communities. The protests over the deaths of multiple black men that we have witnessed in the United States over the last couple of months, come as a wider statement of our collective frustrations as a community.

We are angry, frustrated, fed up, that after 51 years, FIFTY ONE YEARS, after the passing of the Civil Rights Act, we still have to take to the streets our frustrations with a system that systematically continues to discriminate against us. For those of you who just don’t know, police brutality against minorities in the United States is not a new phenomenon. Black bodies in the United States have been having this conversation and talking against it for a long time. Songs against/discussing police brutality go back all the way to Shakur. Check out this incredible list here of 20 Songs Against Police Brutality. 

Like most of you, I am just as angry and frustrated by the violence perpetuated against our brothers, against all of us. And honestly, I get the need for us to retaliate with violence. I absolutely do. When the system of “THE MAN” has silenced your voice for so long, and no matter what you do, your voice and your experiences are left at the margins of society, what else are you supposed to do? How else are you to get the justice you so deserve?

BUT! And I hate to have to add this but my brothers and sisters, but, I must speak as honestly to all of you as I can. As I share these words, let’s pretend that this is me, your sister at our family family reunion sharing earnestly that there is got to be a better way for us. We have to together find that way, because honestly, this is not the way to go about it. What is happening in Baltimore right now is that the actions of a few individuals who are ready to kill are shaping the whole conversation of Baltimore. They are pushing to the margins, and yes they are, the experiences of those of you who are out there protesting in peace, earnestly making a case about the changes that need to happen in our nation.

Source: Patrick Semansky/AP via NPR NPR Caption:

Source: Patrick Semansky/AP via NPR
NPR Caption: “Earlier this week, protesters marched for Freddie Gray through downtown Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. A larger protest is planned for Saturday afternoon.”

The actions of a few individuals are ultimately silencing the voices and experiences of the activists, of the peaceful and resolute protesters, who are tirelessly working to transform the system itself. I’m not saying you should stop protesting, absolutely not because that is our political right and one of the greatest political instruments we have. What I am saying though is that as people watch mainstream media, which as we know is biased in the way that it shares its stories, all we are see on our TV screens and the images we ran across  the internet and in newspapers are of us destroying anything that we can get our hands on. The world is not seeing the whole story. We can’t see how your human rights through this protesting process are also being violated. All we see is your anger and your wanting to destroy.  Because of the ways in which the stories are being told, people are no longer focused on the reasons behind that pain and anger, the driving force behind the violence, but instead are looking at all of us as ignorant, as ratchet, as no sense thieves, as savages who think they can change anything through violence.

Truth is, my brothers and sisters, yes we are worn out and weary of a system that is deeply and inexcusably racist, we want change, we need change. But we also need allies and we need the world to not look at us as ruthless animals who innocently get shot one minute and the next, burn cars, throw bricks, make plans to kill. Yes, we have been ignored for a long time in this country, our needs have not been taken seriously, and our problems, just stereotyped as problems that happen to “those people.”  But truth is, what is looting really going to do to fix and deconstruct the system? How is attacking police going to change the laws of the country to make sure that they’re more inclusive and that police are held accountable.

Source: SAIT SERKAN GURBUZ/REUTERS via Newsweek Newsweek Caption:

Source: SAIT SERKAN GURBUZ/REUTERS via Newsweek
Newsweek Caption: “Ninth-grader Tremaine Holmes shakes hands with Captain Erik Pecha in front of the Baltimore Police Department Western District station during a protest against the death in police custody of Freddie Gray in Baltimore April 23.”

Again, it’s not all of you who are out of control, and truth be told I don’t blame anyone for losing control. Our violence is coming from a place do pain. And we all feel that pain. But let’s think about this, what is our ultimate goal? To be heard, to change the system, and to create a country that is inclusive, and one that is accountable to the needs of all it’s people, right? Well, how do we get there? Again, I say this:  protesting is an extremely powerful political tool. The country is in need of some deep rooted transformation and we need to keep protesting until we see that change. Even though I fear to say this to you, I must. Even though the men and women who are supposed to serve us can be really bad at they jobs, we really cannot do this by doing to them what they have been doing to us. We need our leaders to step up for all of us. We need the individuals whom we have elected to represent us to draft laws and policies that are actually reflective of the times and the problems that we are facing. We can’t keep protesting when we are restricted to curfews, and if we are going to see change happen, we need to keep protesting.

Even though these protests are fostering a much wider conversation about laws that haven’t been working in the country for a very long time,  truth of the matter is that our progress as a people is undermined by police brutality against minority  communities. If you can’t trust the people who parole your streets, who else are you supposed to trust. It’s time for change America, and that change is NOW!

 

Share, and Unravel Away Artist.