It is said that the NYC police department will be issuing a budget to get body cameras in which police officers will be required to record when interacting with civilians. We live in a country where the Eric Garner murder was recorded, the coroner declared it a homicide, and still No Justice. Mike Brown had his hands up and Darren Wilson still shot the innocent teenager and Trayvon Martin yelled for his life as Zimmerman gunned him down. Along with many other black and brown lives taken inhumanely. Yet America has labeled us the animals.
To say there is a problem within our policing system would be an understatement. It is corrupt from the bottom up and has always been rooted by a white supremacist system. Black and brown people have a civil right to be treated with equality. People of color should not feel threatened by police presence as opposed to feeling safe. Mothers shouldn’t have to verbally train their sons how to be, act, speak, and react around law enforcement. We are living in an era where you have to teach your children if ever stopped to not resist, to keep their hands where cops can see them at all times. Things that white mothers and fathers are not subjected to as black and brown communities are. The truth in white privilege.
One of the things that seems to come up a lot during these conversations is “Let’s not play the race card.” I think what people don’t understand is that that’s exactly what people are doing. Playing the hand that was dealt. And if people are tired of hearing about it, imagine how hard it is to live it every single day of your life. Our black and brown communities need to love each other, protect each other, build from the roots up. We have to learn our culture in order to find the truth within ourselves. We have to teach our youth. They are the target and it is our responsibility to give them safe spaces where they can be creative and learn to use their voices.
Growing up, we learned that history had a way of repeating itself. I think I always knew I’d be a part of something life-changing and altering. My first protest was for the Mike Brown verdict. I remember feeling like it was my obligation, my social responsibility to be there, to be an extra body and voice. A couple of close friends and I walked to the train and for the whole ride I felt pretty numb. My friend asked if I was ok. I told him I was. He went on to explain that i must remain level-headed at all times, and that I can’t let my emotions control my actions. I smiled and recall saying, “I’m good.” He said, “you don’t understand, this is something new to you and very powerful.” I just nodded. Our stop finally came, we got off and approached to street level. Outside you could see a lot of people with signs. Some looked confused, didn’t know which way to go, while others led the way. Three blocks into walking, I heard them. All in unity, “BLACK LIVES MATTER.” It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard in my life. It was so powerful and so unified that it brought tears to my eyes. At that moment I felt connected. The more we walked and the bigger we got I started to feel like I had done this before. I have a friend who always talks to me about blood memory. I get so passionate about things and feel so connected to my culture that it makes me feel as if I have been here before. As if I have fought this battle before – and we have. It’s in our blood. We are fighting a systemic form of oppression that has been going on for way too long. Everywhere we turn we have to fight the system in some way, shape, or form. Our families deserve better than that. Our children aren’t animals.
The system shouldn’t hold the power to decide which of our people live or die!
In the fight for justice, we hope that the families of the lost ones find some type of peace and, although it may hurt, they are never alone. As a woman of indigenous ethnicity raising a son, I also live in fear of a system run by oppression and white supremacy. We as the people must join forces and learn to value each other as brothers and sisters.
I hope for peace and justice, especially for our youth .
Yes, all lives matter!
IT’S APPARENT THAT OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM DOES NOT VALUE THE LIVES OF BLACKS!
Written By : Jazo Brooklyn
Edited By: Madeline Kennedy