Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Retrospective: In the Wake of the Deaths of 3 Young Men" (VIDEO)

The conversation, the argument, the debate, the opposition continues..... in regards to the country's disbelief and for some the justified acquittal of George Zimmerman.

As we approach the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington (August 28, 1963)... "King's speech remains one of the most famous speeches in American history. He started with prepared remarks, saying he was there to "cash a check" for "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," while warning fellow protesters not to "allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force." But then he departed from his script, shifting into the "I have a dream" theme he'd used on prior occasions, drawing on both "the American dream" and religious themes, speaking of an America where his children "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." He followed this with an exhortation to "let freedom ring" across the nation, and concluded with:

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

And the marching continues for the things that Rev. King dreamed of on that hopeful day in 1963.

Omar Hardwick, actor and spoken word artist penned this poem in response to tragic death of Trayvon Martin.

                        "Little Black Boys Wonder" by Omar Hardwick  

And though they are not mentioned by name it also touches on the lives, experiences, and deaths of Darius Simmons (13); Jordan Davis (17) and Oscar Grant (22) ...all black young men.

                                                              Jordan Davis                                                            

  Darius Simmons

              "Fruitvale Station: Oscar Grant" Dir. Ryan Coogler                

  The Real Oscar Grant

All of those who pulled the trigger and ended the lives of these young men all claim to have been in fear of their lives. Well if that is the rationale, than I, as a black woman, can believe that all young white men with clean shaved heads mean me harm. No that doesn't make sense and neither does the justification given for the deaths of these young men.  

The African American or black community is very aware of the ills of our community. We are conscious of the epidemic of blacks killing other blacks. We are aware of the number of unwed pregnancies and homes headed by women. We are aware that we have more black men in jail than we do in college. We are aware that we are disproportionately represented in the welfare discussion. We understand that gang violence is a part of our community. We understand that we still practice the crab in a barrel mentality. And we know that we can be our own worst enemy. 

And we also know that we understand struggle because we have been struggling for over 400 years. First for freedom. Then for our humanity; to be consider human, not as cattle or property. Then for the right for literacy and knowledge, aka Brown vs. Board of Education (1954). Then for the right to be take part in a country that boasts about its dream and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The fights continued to vote in such a country aka (15th Amendment) The Voters Right Act of 1965. And the struggle continues because Affirmative Action was enacted in 1961 and is still necessary today in 2013. 

We are aware of our contributions and the double standards that will forever be present. We also know that we created and invented half of things that make this world go around. We know that a black man perfected the technique used to end the rising death toll of babies knows as blue babies. We know that single mothers have raised amazing people, both men and women. We understand that until the late 1800's it was illegal for blacks to read and now they are CEOs and CFOs of Fortune 500 companies. We know that a society scared of a the power of the black man's spirit has sought to hold him down and now a black man sits in the White House. We know that if the numbers were actually pulled that there are more whites on welfare than blacks. We understand that white gangs have been around forever however they are considered political or civic organizations such as the KKK, the Aryan Nation, and the Tea Party; so we understand the double standard. However we still remain proud. Proud of what you may ask....

I am proud of my great grandfather who was born into slavery but died a landowner. I am proud that my history is one of overcoming and not one of settling and being complacent.  I am proud that my family builds on what those who came before us sacrificed for and continue to pass that down. I am proud of the W.E.B Dubois' of the world, the Martin Luther Kings, the Malcolm X's, the Medgar Evers, the Harriett Tubmans, the Sojourner Truth. We stand on their shoulders... and live, by the grace of God, to continue the fight and make our positive mark on this society. 

We are all not the stereotype that you have in your head... stop judging us...especially if you do not know us.

References: 50th Anniversary Official Site http://50thanniversarymarchonwashington.com/

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