Democracy Is Dead

Democracy Is Dead [D.I.D] and it died when we, as a nation, lost our ability to rationalize, compromise and adhere to and with reasonable, logical and sensible politics. It died when we lost the ability to make rationale decisions about candidates without voting along our party line as a means of comfortability. It died when we lost our ability to judge our candidates, not only on their policy and political stance, but based on their character and moral clout.

It died when we decided to trade facts [ which have no side] for temporal conspiracy theories and conjecture. It died when we decided we would rather be right than be fair. It died when we decided that we would place our interests in what benefits the market place over the interests of the average working man and woman.

Let’s have a moment of remembrance and silencr for the hopes, dreams and potential of a Nation that went unachieved.

It died when we decided that our resources were better spent on fighting invisible and nonsensical war domestically and abroad, rather than investing in the future of our children without bankrupting the nation of its’ finances and morality. Now we stand, unenthused, in the shadow of another Presidential Election cycle, unexcited by the options. Reminiscent of 2016, young voters, come again, feel unrepresented and are settling to choose between two old, senile and mentally declining white males.

Everything in our nation has been weaponized and is being used as a political tool of further division between the Left and the Right. Meanwhile, many Americans reside in the middle of both parties; innocent bystanders have now become casualties of ideological and political wars. As the fight rages on, we are poised to choose between the “lesser of two evils” and tolerating what’s to come.

The silver lining is that we don’t have to choose between Joe Biden, Donald Trump and Kanye West anymore. Thank God.

There’s no “I” in team, but there is in Amer-I-Can.

“Proud to be an American”, also known as “God Bless The U.S.A.”, is a patriotic song written by Lee Greenwood and has been delivered for years by several high-profile singers, groups and ensembles. One of the most notable lines of the chorus reads, “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free”, and this this “freedom” will be the downfall of our society. We are currently living through a historic, global pandemic of COVID-19 and for some reason, there are people shocked that positive test cases are on the rise….again.

Two definitions we should be well acquainted with:

  • IndividualismA social theory favoring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control; the habit or principle of being independent and self-reliant.
  • CollectivismThe practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it.

Historically, Collectivism focuses on group goals, what is best for the collective group, and personal relationships. We see this played out in different cultures that practice of Group Economics. For example, children in collectivist societies are likely to take care of elderly parents if they fall ill and will change their own plans in the event of a family emergency. Even in the animal kingdom,  many insect species, including ants and bees, work together in colonies, and their cooperative behavior determines the survival of the entire group. They all work together for the greater good and ultimately, the longevity of their species, regardless of individual preferences. It’s almost like they realize that they need others to survive. Crazy, huh?

On the contrary, Individualism is the cornerstone of global history, which is largely tied to self-preservation, supremacy and the fight against authority, especially here, in America. When pressure rises and we are positioned to choose between self and the collective, we always see that self-preservation is placed before the good of “The United States”. This is currently highlighted with fight against orders to stay home, mandates that make wearing masks mandatory and the simple instructions of keep your distance from others. At its highest, the idea of individuals placing their resources, safety and convenience as a priority over the sacrifices needed to display leadership, wisdom and selflessness are absent from the place we most expect to see it. The White House.

To the Christians, what if Jesus chose Individualism over Sacrifice when he was in the garden of Gethsemane? To the Loyalists, what if the President sacrificed lives to appear “unwavering” in the face of a health crisis?
To the Klansman, what if your Leader was indicted and to save his own life, gave your up without hesitation?
As we navigate through this pandemic, Civil Liberties, Constitutionals Rights and Freedoms are code words for “I don’t want to be inconvenienced or sacrifice my time and energy for the life of someone else”, and THAT is the epitome of selfishness.

If we take a closer look, we will discover that Individualism is the center of American Society and what makes your Economy work. Capitalism is not focused of the equal distribution of wealth, but it’s designed to hoard it and make it create more money and opportunity for the holder and his/her bloodline. This is why we see generational wealth and generational poverty being sustained, no matter how much time passes. Individualism will be the downfall of our nation and the cancer of morality and unity, globally. The reality is Americans preach Collectivism, because it sounds good and is a great political tool to speak about unity and togetherness, but really operate in Individualism.

Standoffish Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

The internal question is where do we fall on the spectrum? Do we care enough to adhere to all of the suggestions and requirements of the government, albeit a highly inept and fumbling one? Do we, as individuals, concern ourselves with the well-being of the general public enough to take precautions that ensure their safety, as well as the lives of our own loved-ones? Do we act in the best interest of our neighbors or only with self-interest and see the consequences as linear and only affecting you, but not those around you? Are you loving your neighbor as you love yourself? Are you proud to cling to your rights or are you just proud to be an Amer-I-Can do what I want?

Unity or Accountability: That is the question.

The call of humanity is for us to operate as a collective and preserve our way of life, despite the challenges of the world. The reality of our society is that we are incapable of empathy or aren’t considerate enough about other people to collectively acknowledge the plight of some, make strides to alleviate their pain and collectively move forward together. Inevitably, there will be a generational, racial and intellectual divide within our community, and within America. No amount of conversation, without action, will bridge this separation that grows wider each decade.

Johnathan Williams

We have seen a mass exodus of S.W.A.T. personnel and Law Enforcement over the last month. Men and women who would rather quit their jobs and renege on their careers before they support accountability of their fellow servicemen and fight with civilians to end police brutality. As we have seen in many headlines, Officers are citing “Lack of Support” as their reason for resigning, calling in “sick” for their shifts, requested to be moved to different districts, etc. However, from the Black Civilian perspective, what we see are Law Enforcement personnel that are shaken by the changing public approval landscape and are upset that they are no longer immune from prosecution, scrutiny and accountability.

Exhibit A
Exhibit B

The larger conversation that must be had is why does Law Enforcement, who are overwhelmingly white, feel that they “Lack Support” from the community and Elected Officials that seek to hold “bad cops” accountable for excessive use of force claims and senseless killings of unarmed Americans, but they don’t speak up for the victims of said claims and crimes? American Politics and Culture have literally supported and upheld the beating, mistreatment and killing of Black People for generations and have also ensured the protection of those who killed them, especially if they were white, so we are confused by the assertion of “Lack of Support”. It’s almost as if they don’t want accountability or to be held to a higher standard of Ethics in Law Enforcement. It’s almost as if they would prefer to avoid the conversation, than to face the reality. It’s almost as if they joined the force just so they could get away with killing people.

It’s almost as if they care more about “The Thin Blue Line” than the “All Lives Matter” group that supports them. It’s almost as if they have forgone the “Protect and Serve” portion of their mantra, in favor of the “Law and Order” platform presented by “45”, by any means necessary. It’s almost as if they are incapable of objectivity and defer to the law that tends to protect them, when the spotlight is on another officer, but innately know how to use “discretion” and give “respect” during arrests and traffic stops when the civilians have different hues of skin. It’s almost as if they only seek to “Protect and Serve” themselves, instead of the communities in which they patrol. It’s almost as if…

There are two terms that we should be very familiar with, but note the difference between when discussed regarding Law Enforcement.

  • Unity – the state of being united or joined as a whole.
  • Accountability -the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility.

Police, for over a century, have always shown unity or a “unified front” when it comes to justifying their actions and excessive use of force concerning people of color. They’ve also been unified in their defense of other cops, whether right, wrong or obviously guilty on matters of wrongdoing and corrupt practices. They have been most recently unified in their defense of murder, manslaughter and homicide by saying ” I feared for my life”, even when there was no imminent threat or danger to their lives present. They have been historically unified in their silence to speak against over policing, abuse of power, lack of respect and superiority complexes within their ranks that damage their position and credibility with the general public. Meanwhile, they demand respect, compliance and subservience from the general public, simply because they have a badge and a uniform. Beloveds, respect is EARNED. It is not inherent to the uniform.

On the contrary, accountability, Policing the Police in America, for the aforementioned has been scarce and absent. Totally devoid of any personal responsibility, many officers shoot first and ask questions later. It is a vigilante mindset to enshrine law and order above humanity and service, but that’s only my opinion. From the Black eye, it just looks as if you don’t care and honestly, the establishment of Police in this county has historically not cared. The hard truth that many still reject is that Police Officers were initially used to gather run-away slaves and Negroes who had disobeyed their masters. Read it again and again, and again. Now, fast-forward to the knee on the neck of George Floyd, Memorial Day, 2020.

An awakening, an uprising and outcries for true justice are inevitable. In addition to what we already knew to be true, we now have a President that embodies and echoes this dark sentiment of supremacy consciously, overtly and without shame. As we have seen in many high profile cases with members of this administration, Justice is often subverted and is only afforded to those who can afford it. Even when jail time is considered, it is always accompanied with serving time at home, probation or a small fine for the major crime. Yet, we are told and taught to believe that Justice is Blind and the Law is equally applied to all citizens (insert scoff).

So, I ask you, America: What would you rather see? Unity or Accountability? THAT is the question.

Law & Order < Respect

Police Union Boss: ‘Stop Treating Us Like Animals and Thugs, and Start Treating Us With Some Respect’

An all too familiar position of Policemen in America. “Respect me or face the consequences”. As black kids, we were taught to always have a healthy “respect for the law”, but it was not until I was a young adult, in my early 20’s, that I realized we weren’t taught to respect law enforcement. In reality, we were taught to fear them and the best way too avoid confrontation was to be overly submissive, making sure to always address them with “yes sir” or “no sir”.

For decades there have been outcries from minorities about police brutality and unfair treatment, yet, they went ignored and unheard. For years there have been protests seeking justice system reform and demands to simply respect our humanity, but those requests also fell on deaf ears. For weeks we have seen the mobilization of Americans seeking justice for those unlawfully killed by those charged to serve and protect, but these callings for justice are met with biased reasoning, intentional overlooking of the issue at hand and rebuttals of “All Lives Matter”.

Now, we’re here, in 2020, living in the remnants of a post-Rodney King American society, trying to figure out why there is a head of a Police Union demanding to be treated with respect when that has been the basis of black people’s position for 100 years. It’s ironic, comical, satirical, eerily satisfying and gratifying to see the headlines grace our phone screens.

It speaks to my soul, on a spiritual level, to see the brown napkins of life, once used as toilet paper in “Urban” schools, now stained with the white tears of suburban mistresses and loosely knitted threads of imaginary oppression strangling the necks of highly decorated police officers across the Nation. Ahhh, the sweet taste of recompense, served medium well, with a side of white fragility marmalade.

Dear Police Union Boss, we are unbothered and unphased by your outrage at being disrespected and treated like an “animal and a thug”. Welcome to America, where no matter how much respect you give to officers, you are rarely treated with the same respect. Unfortunately, this has been the shared experience for many people of color and now, you see what it feels like.

The mistreatment and brutalization of brown people in America has been well documented and studied for generations, so there’s no need for me to beat that dead horse, but I rose out of my bed today to tell you that echoing your “President of Law and Order” by demanding respect will not get you the outcome you desire.

To whom respect is given, respect is expected & required. – Johnathan Williams

You would think that at bare minimum, in the “World’s Greatest Country”, decency of humanity and respect would be common and a basic human right, but to look at our policing and justice system, you would read a totally different story. It is riddled with wrongly convicted citizens, colorized by miscarriages of justice and the streets of our nation are littered with a foundation of brown bodies that were strung up, beaten and burned, all in the name of Patriotism and Christianity.

You were charged to protect us from a tyranical government, dangerous criminals and serve our communities with your courage and integrity. Instead, we were categorized as the dangerous criminals, treated as the enemy of a nation and labeled as menaces to society by trigger-happy, fear-filled lawmen and women. Law and Order is being emphasized daily, but nobody is addressing missing link. Respect.

Aretha Franklin, God rest her soul, said it best: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me. Maybe now, we will all see what we have chosen to ignore for decades now. That’s there truly is no “Liberty and Justice for all”.

The Double Edged Sword of Activism

Activism – the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.

Dictionary.com

Activism is as normal as the air we breathe on this earth. Protests have been documented in history as early as 1215 A.D., between barons and feudal lords, in the attempt to legitimize what became known as “The Magna Carta”, which granted legal protection against arbitrary monarchical rule. The French Revolution of 1778 became a 20 year effort in which liberté, égalité, fraternité became universal ideals. The Suffragettes of 1913, who are often portrayed as heroes today, but they were often demonized as anarchists and even terrorists in their day, began the fight for women to vote in Britain. Even in the United States, the efforts for basic human rights by the Suffragettes were heard and would later create a similar, yet altogether different movement for Civil Rights, which still echoes in 2020.

Although the intent of these protests and political statements had their individual purposes, some would still argue that they were not all just or did not provide an overall benefit long-term, and ultimately, the cons of such change would outweigh the pros through history. As the United States continues to struggle with race relations, tolerance and inclusion within its borders, we are still seeing ripples of Integration and the granting of Civil Rights, at least on paper. The recent protests because of the murder of George Floyd have gone international and American policing against its citizens is at the center of the conversation, again. The conversation that has risen countless times is centered around police brutality, non-white Americans and a justice system that disproportionately treats people of color unjustly before trial, during trial and especially in sentencing, even if they serve as Law Enforcement.

“This case is about a black Muslim immigrant. They are worried about disappointing the white community. For that reason, justice was not served today.”-  Ahmednur Abdirahman

As minorities within America continue this long-suffering fight for life without persecution or unfair treatment, we are faced with the question of “How do I impact this fight and what can I do to help change the narrative?”. No matter the protest, the unrest or the reason, minorities that fight to change any system in America are immediately met with skepticism and “what you need to focus on-isms”, but never met with a listening ear, an open mind or the willingness and follow-through to change. In every case that I can recall that involves black people and police, the next statement from law enforcement advocates and people of non-color is “Black lives only matter when they are killed by a white cop, but what about black on black crime? Do those lives matter then? We don’t see you protesting against that!”.

The difference between DaKwon and Ken being arrested is that DaKwon will be arrested first, asked questions later and then get the maximum sentence possible for a non-violent crime. Brad will have his parents called and they will be told to come pick him up, but in the off chance that he is arrested, he MIGHT get fined and community service for the EXACT same non-violent crime. We can even review the violent crimes, rapes, assaults and other transgressions committed by white males and compare the sentencing of non-violent crimes by black males and see the disparities.The idea that people somehow find a way to try and invalidate what we KNOW to be true is idiocy.

However, I digress. As we pursue these public roles as activists and protesters, we, black people, are in debate among ourselves to figure out how we got here, how much blame do we share and what we can do to alter the current path we’re on to achieve fair treatment in the justice system. We are very much aware of the violence that can sometimes occur within our own communities and I would dare to say that part of our ongoing activism is to police ourselves and hold our family, friends and associates accountable, as well as police officers. The two things can be done in tandem and one is not dependent on the other, contrary to popular belief. Although it is not televised by the media, there are many grass-roots organizations and community leaders that protest, speak against and work toward the elimination of crime, theft and killing within the black community. It should be of no surprise that even those efforts go unnoticed and unsupported by white and other black people the same. That’s the double-edged sword. We swing it to cut down these arbitrary and archaic systems of inequity, but at the same time, we cut ourselves because we aren’t as involved as we should and could be to be proactive in our own communities.

What can we do? When it comes to our own people, having zero tolerance for the killing and mistreatment of our own must become a norm. Not because anyone else said so, but because we value ourselves and want to ensure that our kids can grow up and not fear one another or fall into the stereotype that is perpetuated within America. When left to our own devices, as we saw in the Greenwood community of Oklahoma, black people can provide for, protect, and police ourselves, without the drugs, gangs and other outside influences. What we need from each other is unity, but what we need from those who have an opinion about us is solidarity. If you’re not involved to help us, then your criticism provides no consolation. In other word, “What about white on white crime? When are ya’ll going to protest about that?”.

The Tall-Tale of Evangelicalism: The Silent Cross

Once again, white men in positions of power are standing on the threat of using force to assert themselves against a nation and using the system of religion, specifically Evangelicalism and Evangelicals, as a prop to perpetuate the idea that “God is on our side”, whether right or wrong. Historically classic Eurocentric behavior, so none of us should really be surprised, right? Right. Not only are the teachings of white Evangelicals contextually questionable, but many times, they do not work towards unifying people beyond those who attend their establishment.

In this new age of religion, white churches strive to advertise themselves as “Multicultural”, but only in title and image. Realistically, many people of color, including myself, have experienced racism in houses of worship that define themselves as “Diverse” and “Multicultural” establishments that love God. The most ironic thing about this example is that the leadership of these establishments are aware and often not fazed by this reality. Taking no proactive measures to ensure equity, diversity of thought and acknowledgement of social issues that may impact the minority population within the church, Pastors and Teachers within the Evangelical movement tend to neglect and exclude members of color from their inner ranks. Comparatively, the political sphere that embraces this shallow depiction of a love-filled God that wants to unite and save all people, yet takes no action towards inclusion, is also supported by Evangelicals.

Just as their Evangelical leadership, average, poor and suburban whites cling to God, Country and Religion as their personal saviors, but when the time comes to exercise their faith and put it into action to show the love and concern of God in the earth, they miss the mark and are highly hypocritical on social issues, unless they align with their personal politics or bolsters their position publicly. As George Floyd was murdered on Memorial Day this year, we heard deafening silence from faith leaders as protests, riot and civil unrest engulfed our nation, but then we began to see “#BlackLivesMatter” being hijacked by those who willfully ignore social and systemic racism and embrace cultural appropriation day in and day out. Queue Kim Kardashian or Kylie Jenner.

During these restless times of 2020, the people of America are crying out for God to save, heal and restore things lost from COVID-19 and now from a system of injustice and discourtesy towards minorities. Even those who lean heavily on their faith have seen absenteeism from normally vocal leaders. The President’s spiritual advisor is Paula White, American Megachurch pastor, author, televangelist and vocal supporter of this administration. At some point, Christianity and American culture became intertwined and joined into a symbiotic relationship, at least to white America. Despite her previous allure among the black community, Paula White has become more and more of a divisive figure among the Christian community, as well as other outspoken and prominent supporters of this administration. Shockingly, but not really, as loud and opinionated as many of them can be, the one thing they jointly remain silent on are issues of racial injustice, poverty and homelessness that grips the nation.

The same group of people who speak of and portray Jesus Christ as some type of timid pacifist, somehow find it hard to embrace people of color who also try to achieve change through peaceful measures. The same group of people that love to quote Mother Teresa and Gandhi are the same people that constantly invoke the name of Martin Luther King Jr and his messages, while they simultaneously worked against and ultimately assassinated him for his pursuit of change in a peaceful posture. The same people who worship the symbolism of racists past and who pedestal the heritage of a people who once stood as oppressors on the backs of innocents, all in the name of God and Patriotism, now stand before us saying that Trump is the chosen one by God. Through their action or lack thereof, Evangelicals have cemented their place and position in politics and chosen their path of appeal to their target audience. As Evangelicals continue to water down society with prosperity messages and coffee shops, we see a church, that has been mute for decades, now speak on an issue with the death of George Floyd that they have been utterly silent on within their own walls. Race.

https://www.npr.org/2020/03/12/815097747/survey-most-evangelicals-see-trump-as-honest-and-morally-upstanding

Now, as the President stands posed in front of a Cathedral, a pillar in the community of those who seek supernatural reassurance and stands as a symbol of hope for the hopeless, his grandstanding once again holds hostage the true message of The Gospel, as it stares down the barrel of America’s blood-soaked gun. The very institution designed to uplift the downtrodden has been used as a prostitute for political gain and now, we stand poised to rise against our own ill-taught theology and usher faith into a new and better decade, hopefully.

Better late than never, I suppose.

Sincerely, – Fed up.

Pray in my closet or Protest in my community: The plight of the Christian community.

…….. Sigh. It’s been exactly one week (7 days) since George Floyd’s murder, eleven (11) weeks and three (3) days since the murder of Breonna Taylor and fourteen (14) weeks and 1 day since Ahmaud Arbery was murdered. That is exactly 99 days, not including today, since the first murder and the date this blog will be posted.

During this time, we’ve seen one officer fired, arrested and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter, (three (3) days after the fact) in the Floyd case, a father and son duo arrested and charged with murder in the Arbery case, but no firing or arrests made in Breonna Taylor’s case. The mental, emotional and physical trauma that has resulted because of these officer’s actions or lack thereof, have stirred an already boiling pot of unrest and tension in this nation.

#WeAreTired

We’ve heard from many leaders across various communities, but as per usual, the Christian community leadership team, comprised of various faces and multiple races, have been noticeably absent from the discussion and processing of these feelings within their communities. Now, as a Christian, I must note that it is unhealthy and unfair to project your feelings and words on those who you view as leaders and expect for them to respond to things how YOU feel they should be addressed. However, it is paramount for leaders to be aware of the thoughts and feelings of those that they represent.

With that being said, we… I find myself wrestling to process this secondary trauma; caught between using spiritual principles and prayer to overcome the ebbs and flows of frustration, localized depression and helplessness, versus asserting myself by being active in my community and using free speech to my benefit as well, but I’ve discovered that trying to choose one over the other tends to position me in an uncomfortable place. Some Christians say “Just pray about it.”, while not lifting a finger or even using their words to comfort those seeking peace in some form. Other Christians have traded the proverbial “Gauntlet of Peace” for an “Axe of Activism”. Christians on either side of this syllogism may find themselves demonizing and dissuading the general public from choosing their counterparts methods, in the hopes of attaining peace.

PACIFISM or ACTIVISM

Although feeling like we HAVE to chose one path over the other seems to be our reality, making that choice seems to be an impossibility. Nevertheless, the solace I’ve found in this tussle is that we don’t have to choose one over the other. Pacifism is no greater than Activism. Either form is acceptable when seeking social or political change and I’m realizing that neither can prevail without the other, even in some displays of violence (which is an entirely different can of worms).

Contrary to the Evangelical presentation of Christ, the bible shows Jesus as a well-rounded and sometimes radical individual, that was able to feel the lows of the oppressed, the hunger of the forgotten and the despair of humanity, while still acknowledging that we (His followers) will need to be active and diligent in the application of our faith and that He who sits at the highest of heights provides hope until “Justice for all” manifests itself here on Earth. This is an encouraging realization. And yet, helplessness is still present.

We ought not give ourselves an ultimatum or become linear in our field of options in the pursuit of change. To be a Christian IS to be a change agent and in many cases, it’s a “by any mean necessary” situation, but that may be a tough pill to swallow for some. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, the one thing that remains true is that these feelings may lessen and even subside for a while, but until Justice is served and change is embraced, we are destined to cycle through these situations as we have for the last 60 years.

The closet is a great place to lay your burdens and the streets are a great place to swing your sword.

– Johnathan Williams

The Sin of Comfort & Complacency

The Cycle: Black people die; black people get outraged; black people protest/riot; black people create hashtags; black people create social media buzz; black people create T-shirts and canvas art; black people cry; and then we go back to business as usual.

The Cycle: Officer shoots/chokes/kills black person; Video surfaces; Officer gets PAID administration leave or resumes work as normal; Investigation ensues; Not enough evidence to file criminal charges; Officer is arrested (only for formality); Officer is charged with a lesser form of Murder; Officer is acquitted; Officer relocates precinct or cities and begins his/her work again.

Question for Black People: “WHEN WILL WE BECOME UNCOMFORTABLE ENOUGH TO REMOVE OURSELVES FROM A SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT WORK TO ENSURE OUR SAFETY AND LIVELIHOOD?” We have become so comfortable behind our phone screens, desktops and social media platforms, that we have forgotten, or maybe, have never experienced the power of grass roots organization outside of the Civil Rights examples in history books to grasp the power that we, the people, have in this country!

As we speak, there is a flyer circulating the cracks and crevices of social media (See image below).

Wonderful Idea….for the 100th time.

The idea of pulling the black dollar from the American Economy, even if for one day, is a wonderful idea, could truly make even the highest paid billionaires pay attention and could send the loudest message in modern history to our government, but there are two obvious flaws in this proposal:

  • There is not enough national SOLIDARITY among Black People to truly impact the American Economy.
  • There has been no execution of this proposal, EVER, even thought it’s been proposed since the death of Trayvon Martin.

There can be no black-white unity until there is first some black unity. There can be no workers’ solidarity until there is first some racial solidarity. We cannot think of uniting with others, until after we have first united among ourselves. We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves. One can’t unite bananas with scattered leaves. – Malcolm X

https://www.biography.com/news/malcolm-x-inspiring-quotes
Pin on Black Pride/Consciousness!

The Montgomery Bus Boycott brought racial segregation to the center of American politics and did not end until December 20, 1956, 381 days after it first began. Following a November 1956 ruling by the Supreme Court that segregation on public buses was unconstitutional, the bus boycott ended successfully. The obvious difference in their protest versus what we see today is the outcome! Our ancestors did not stop UNTIL the achieved, what they believed to be, systemic change that no longer oppressed them for simply LIVING in America.

In 2020, we find ourselves asking, “What will it take for us to be heard AND understood“? I would offer the suggestion of taking some pointers from the Montgomery Bus Boycott and become comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable and inconvenienced. What our grandparents and even great grandparents suffered through wasn’t born out of becoming popular or going viral, but it was a matter of pure necessity and being tired of being sick and tired.

They were willing to sacrifice comfort. They were willing to sacrifice convenience. They were willing to sacrifice their bodies. They were willing to sacrifice their time. They were willing to sacrifice their energy. They were willing to sacrifice their reputations. Even in many cases, they were willing to sacrifice their lives. So I ask you, what are you willing to sacrifice? Not just for a murder conviction today, but for systemic change and overhaul tomorrow…

Tears are Salty, but Action is Sweet.

“I’ve made up in my mind that I shall no longer accept or pursue peace as a consolation prize to change and justice.
Yet, I will stand firm in my pursuit of accountability, equity and equality.
I will not bend for a “compromise” that eases the conscience of the guilty, nor will I be engaged in the pacification of nation willfully oblivious to its own sins. However, I will ensure that impartiality and reasonableness will remain the central themes of this life, moving forward.
I will not be complicit in the mollification of a culture which seeks to prop up every establishment that does not benefit ALL people, while simultaneously working their hands in the destruction of things and people they deem “replaceable” or “non-essential”. Nevertheless, I will support the weight of the mirror that needs to be held to the faces of each community in this nation with the fullness of my back, hoping that our hypocrisy does not crack the glass.
I will not look to my offender expecting closure or compassion, nor will I look at the sun and expect it to apologize for its own rays. Be that as it may, I will be merciful, just as my Father is, but I will not extend grace toward you, as it is not mine to ration.
I will not be apologetic for the sting of my words upon fragile ears and flesh. Neither is the balm regretful for its sting upon an open wound, which was sought out by the wounded.” – Johnathan Williams

now or never quote
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

In the aftermath of Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Ahmaud Arbery and now George Floyd, we (black men), have found ourselves in a distillery of emotions that range from remorse and resentment, to anger and sorrow.
We are at a crossroad of picking up the mallet of Malcolm X and dismantling all things in opposition to us or continuing down this road of compromise and pacifism as our beloved Martin Luther King Jr. We are torn between using our moral compasses and spiritual upbringings to balance the pursuit of justice, the creation of peace and seeking change within our  communities, or embracing our emotions to cause an unapologetic societal disruption that cannot be ignored.

The reality of it all is that WE HAVE TO MAKE A CHOICE! Not a choice of complaining on social media or alienating our friends and family because this issue makes them uncomfortable, but the choice of standing together in solidarity or letting this wash over us today and going back to “normal” tomorrow. YOU HAVE TO MAKE A CHOICE! NO CHOICE IS A CHOICE! Martin and Malcolm are long gone. Jesse Jackson has lost his fervor and respect in some area in relation to Barack Obama. Al Sharpton is no longer a relatable voice in today’s climate and leaders don’t fall from the sky. WE HAVE TO STAND UP AND BE THE VOICE OF OUR GENERATION! We can’t wait on someone to speak for us.

God on our side and the wind to our backs, we must move forward with a sense of urgency to fight towards accountability within our borders. This shall be our alma-mater and the foundation of the next generation.