Today I am thankful.
|Photo by Daniel Schaefer|
Thankful that my brothers and sisters are still with me. Thankful that during the past years, we have engaged in - admittedly at times, - heated debate, but mostly thoughtful discussion, ardent advocacy, and lifelong learning. Thankful that we have found each other in this journey, and managed to stay connected.
Today I am thankful they were not taken from me by a rogue with government authority and a gun, a rookie, or a racist. When George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, the danger of a non-indictment is ‘...not more Trayvon Martins, but more George Zimmermans'. The day after the Ferguson Decision, the same sentence pattern emerged in social media; ‘the danger of a non-indictment is not more Mike Browns, but more Darren Wilsons.’
After the decision of Ferguson’s Grand Jury not to indict, analysis of the documents and the long reaching implications erupted across the internet. Statements and nationwide actions continue in direct conjunction with heartfelt pleas for non-violence. However, shooting deaths, economic segregation, educational manipulation, brutality against the community, and prisoners of the state...is not war already happening?
There are a number of periods in human history when oppressors were able to act this way towards an entire race. The Crusades, Colonization, Slavery, the Westward Expansion, Genocide, killing of Civil Rights Leaders, killing of Black Community Leaders, killing of young Black men...this seems a repetitive pattern.
Tearing apart cities, however, will prove nothing. Flashes of anger are to be expected, but it is not a means to the necessary end. Only a very generalized reaction in an extremely directed and organized fashion will break the pattern. Black Out Black Friday is a great opening to the 'national dialogue' for which our great thinkers have begun to call. But oppression is systemic and systematic, overt and inter-generational. Descendants of the era of the Conquistadors have been having 'a national dialogue' for more than 500 years. Once the border crossed them it became an international dialogue.
Ask an immigrant from anywhere in the Western Hemisphere that lies South of the political borders of the United States how that dialogue is going. Ask the Native Americans.
Ask Mike Brown's parents. Or Trayvon's, or Kimani's, or Akai's, or Sean's, or Amadou's, or Ramarley's.
Now is an actionable moment and we are, in fact, perfectly positioned as a collective of communities, Black, Latino, Asian, all of us. We manage large swaths of the business sector that are cornerstones of the (inter)national economy. We are professors, we are military, we are elected officials and the staff of elected officials, we are workers, we are men and women, and we matter. We are even in the police force - not in the necessary amounts, but there nonetheless. We need an African American parallel to Univision or Telemundo, with news shows that discuss themes with gravitas and objectivity by educated, well spoken individuals from the community. We have the power and resources to furnish, staff and fund our own candidates, and ensure that sufficient votes carry them into office. We have to take our anger with us through to 2016 and usher in that new wave. Politics is not a spectator sport.
We are no longer the minority. We are the majority, and it is high time we started acting like it. As long as there is unity between our communities, and we have a well codified plan for success we will reach that goal. Amongst the requirements: a newly formed national political party banner under which to march is crucial. Yes, more than a rallying cry to the side of an unresponsive party, but an entirely unique party, not subject to the hegemony of dynastic families and politics as usual traditions. A party that is inclusive, and that will stand primarily to stop the killing and imprisonment of our young people. We have had multiple watershed moments, we have had our Tianamen Square moment. Now we must throw off the colonized mentality, and move boldly forward.