Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Bachman of Reuters – Baton Rouge, LA
This photo could be the symbol of resistance that goes down in history like the picture of Tiananmen Square, China in 1989.
The situations of late in our society have been caused by the systematic racism that has thrived in our nation since it’s creation. It dwells within all aspects of livelihood: housing, education, food, government, police and prison. We’ve witnessed the health crisis in Flint, Michigan, a primarily colored community, and the lack of support to providing clean water to residents. We can see the low-income neighborhoods, “ghettos”, and the schools and jobs that are available within them and we can see who has to live there. It’s not their wrong doing, it’s the lack of public resources and proper allocation of government funds to take care of ALL of it’s citizens. It cannot be denied that there are preferences made in where the support goes from those in power.
When thousands, hundreds of thousands, raise their voice and say they are being unfairly treated, no one has any right to dismiss their claims.
“When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.” -Louis C.K.
I have listened and I have learned and I have taken in the words of other people and tried to feel their pain as my own because I hadn’t experienced it before, not like them. I empathize with the masses of people who proudly support the #BlackLivesMatter movement, those who created it as a support blanket to the people who feel their lives are at risk or not valued as important compared to others. It is more important to say the words Black Lives Matter than an encompassing statement of All Lives Matter. It is more important to be compassionate than understanding, because there are some things that we just won’t understand. Support the black community who is crying out in pain – do not scream over their words with an obvious and unnecessary statement.
On one of my recent blog posts, “It matters where you live” (July 8th), in the last section of it I write about how where you live and have lived provides the basis of the experiences you have. Because of those experiences, you have individual perceptions and beliefs that then create the actions you take in this world. Where you live is important in who you are and what you understand.
Truth be told, there is a very small amount of people I know that understand racism to the extremes that bring our nation to this point. I do not know that kind of racism myself and no one in my close circle of friends has experienced it either. We’ve never lived in areas where it was something we had to be subjected to. The disadvantages we face do not strip us almost completely of our power. In this country, this society, not everyone holds the same amount of power.
I feel powerless in helping this massive situation. Besides typing my opinions to share with anyone willing to listen and hoping to inspire understanding on some levels, but mostly compassion on all levels, there seems to be little else I, personally, can do. As one more step, I have written a letter to my representatives. I am asking them for the same compassion that I ask of every individual. But since they hold more power in this society than I do and they have more authority, I am asking them to also use their voices and to demand a truly fair investigation and trial in the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. It has been the mishandling of these two aspects of past deaths that have continued the outrage in the black community. The conclusions of the Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice trials were wrong. The investigation into Sandra Bland’s death was insufficient. I want to see true justice done in these cases that we now have to follow. I want the people who uphold the law subject to those laws with the same strength that you and I would be. That is truly fair.
To whom it may concern,
My name is.. and I am writing to you because I am concerned for the world we live in and you are a representative of the people: you represent me. I don’t know if my words will be taken seriously, or if you even have the time to read this but I am reaching out to you in hopes that you will understand my fear.
In the recent days, this country has seen multiple deaths of innocent people and people have reacted in anger, sadness and horror. Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the multiple police officers in Dallas who were shot by snipers has revived an uprising that we all witnessed when Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland were killed, just to name a few. In the wake of these instances, our country has been in uproar and instead of coming together, we are consistently dividing and tearing each other apart. This is not the way it should be!
I am 24 years old, I am white, straight and live in a beautiful community. Compared to so many other people who live on this planet with me, I have it easy. I have never experienced racism that has made me fear for my life and I do not know what it feels like to live with dread because of circumstances that I cannot change. That fear and terror that I do not know exists though, as hundreds of thousands of people in this county live with those feelings every day and their voices need to be heard.
The shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are escalations of inherent, cultural racism that effects people every day but does not get media attention. Racism is still living and thriving in various ways and people feel the effects of it every day in this country. This racism may not take a life away from this world every day, but it takes away the livelihood of people still living all the time. It is this inherent inequality that breeds a fury within people, and when situations escalate, this fury turns to violence. A country divided and induced with panic and fear needs leaders to speak of compassion and stand behind their word. We need you, our representatives, to assure us that all voices will be heard and all people have to abide by the law, even those who enforce it.
With an empathetic mind, I understand that the intentions of all parties involved will never be completely explained because the situation was one of a panic, and recollecting those thoughts is nearly impossible. We cannot forget though, the other parties involved are no longer living, forever silencing their side of the story. It is unfair to attempt to understand fully, but those in authority still have the ability to react appropriately. Show the people that black lives matter by standing for a fair and open investigation, and a realistic and moral trial for all deaths in the recent days – the 2 men named above, as well as the innocent officers in Dallas, Texas.
I am pleading with you to speak out and demand a truly, fair trial in both cases of civilian lives lost with the same strength that you will for our fallen officers. The voices of the people in those communities need to be heard. The representatives of the African-American/Black community need to be taken seriously. The BLACK LIVES MATTER movement is one of peace, with the goal of creating a platform for those who go unheard, and those in authority need to reach out to these people. We all need to learn to listen to each other and create action towards empathy.
Please help me makes this world, this country and our communities a better place for everyone. Thank you for your time.
Keepin’ it Compassionate,