The past few days have been extremely traumatic for me and the rest of the country, as we watched the heinous deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the shooting that took place in Dallas unfold before our eyes. The country’s current climate is intense to say the least.
Watching the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile was heart wrenching and left me in tears, and has left me sleepless for the past few nights. Why does anyone deserve to die the way these two men were killed? What hurts even more is that we undoubtedly know that race played a factor. To suggest otherwise would be a lie. Race continues to play a key factor in the killings of black and brown people throughout this country. It hurts.
I like many others found myself, speechless and just at a loss as I watched the traumatic videos of the killings of these two men. They were deprived of the right to live, in part because of their darker hue and undeniable melanin. I was physically sick, as I thought about all the black men who I know and whom I cherish deeply.
White supremacy, visceral hate, systemic racism, unchecked bias in policing, and the lack of accountability within policing have caused the lives of black and brown people to be minimized. The dehumanization of black people is rooted in fear, hate, and intimidation. This is the reality.
This systemic hate is an American issue that has been ignored and unchecked for far too long. Yes! New policies, procedures, and best practices should be enacted within policing to ensure that black and brown men, women, and children are not killed in this manner ever again. Yes! The federal agencies, namely the Depatrment of Justice, local and state legislators, President Obama, and Congress ALL have a responsibility. However, legislating against hate can only go so far. We all have a responsibility to uncover and check our conscious and unconscious biases.
We also should not and cannot afford to minimize the Black Lives Matter movement. Acknowledging and affirming that black lives matter is not disaffirming that police nor other races don’t matter. However, black people in America have been deemed to be worthless yet somehow more threatening in this space, unfortunately since this country’s inception.
Black Lives Matter is a collective outcry for this country to acknowledge our humanity as a people. If no one acknowledges your presence or worth, it’s your responsiblity to educate and enlighten them. So, we are. That’s what Black Lives Matter is about. It’s about America acknowledging our presence in this space that we all migrated to from other places, except Native Americans. However, the narrative has been twisted and tainted.
Black Lives Matter is purely about our humanity, and imploring the nation to understand our truth as black people in this space. So, we must continue as a nation to declare that Black Lives Matter! Our voices matter, our minds matter, our men matter, our children matter, our women matter, our music matters, our culture matters, our love matters,our money matters, our votes matter, and we as black people in America matter!