Saving Our Sons

Social Justice, Uncategorized

Part of my daily routine consist of waking up and checking my social media accounts and scrolling through a few articles or blogs. So this morning I laid in bed scrolling my Facebook feed when I found myself FUMING! I’m not being dramatic either, my husband literally shifted away from me because my body temperature began to rise. As I was scrolling I landed on a status from a black woman with son’s of her own who stated Jordan Edwards and his friends had gotten what they deserved/earned because of what she read in a poorly written news article claiming they attempted to run over a police officer. Whether they did so or not is neither here nor there because making a mistake (a poor choice) DOES NOT MEAN YOU DESERVE A DEATH SENTENCE.

As a mother it’s hard enough to hear my children suffer for any reason, may it be while getting vaccines or falling down. It literally breaks my heart every time. So imagine being his friend in the car with him that night.

Your friend has been shot, he’s probably choking on blood, in pain, dying, and maybe calling to God or even his own mother. While you listen and watch, there’s nothing you can do for him. I would like to hope that he didn’t have to suffer, although his friends are suffering now and they will be forever changed by this experience.

Part of my calling is to protect women and children, but I have no patience or tolerance for a woman that would speak of children that way. Because he was in fact a child, maybe a child that made a bad choice (which I doubt because we all know the police likes to victim blame in order to paint their own story). We already know that black children are perceived as bigger, more mature, and more violent than they actually are so being black was enough of a weapon for them to be shot at.

As mothers, even as human beings, how can you justify shooting into a car of children? I want my  children to have the luxury of doing normal things, I want them to have the luxury of being children. Instead society is forcing them into adulthood. Calling them grown men and women, and hypersexualizing their bodies. I have to protect these babies before I can ever protect the women victim blaming.

You can’t truly be about this cause when your focus is based on being the correct kind of black person. Stop pandering to white people and their approval, that shit will not save your life.

White approval is not a bullet proof vest.

Rest In Power Jordan.

Dear Black Men

Social Justice

Dear Black Men,
I came to you two weeks ago with concerns about your lack of representation in regards to Korryn Gaines; I was met with white noise and static. Again you met us with silence, and those who did respond to the issue at hand responded to us with ignorance and anger. You met us with hostility and victim shaming, once again you did nothing to protect us.
I don’t need your responses of “not all black men…’ or “maybe if she had done this or that differently”. You sound like the white apologist that blame us for our own deaths, and expect respectability politics and compliance to keep us alive. You love black women in their effort to love you unconditionally but you treat us like Kaepernick critics when we hold you accountable. All your life you’ve been waiting to disrespect us when we step out of line, or call you on your shit. Waiting for the opportune time to call us bitter black bitches when we hold you responsible for your actions or lack there of. We have stood up for you for so long that WE are the true MARTYR’S in this cause. You want us to suffer so black liberation can live; you want to be liberated so you can further oppress us.
Nate Parker’s rape allegations have come forward and hear you are once again, vilifying victims. Using black liberation as an excuse for sexual assault, using conspiracy theories to shame a dead victim. Why do we, a new generation, continue to feed the code of silence? That black women should not condemn black men when they are indeed some of our most vicious abusers. And maybe you personally have not sexually assaulted anyone, but maybe you stood idly by while your homeboy did, or listened in on crass conversations and said nothing. You’re guilty, and you don’t want to hear that. Our community confuses holding you accountable with criticism; it’s not the same thing. Accountability improves our community and makes us better; it helps us to raise better men and encourages conversations about rape culture and consent.
While you’re defending Nate Parker’s “alleged” actions, he’s admitting to them and admitting to his privilege. He admitted she was unconscious and he took advantage of her. He admitted that he never really understood or learned about consent and rape culture. Nonetheless you can’t get over your own privilege to see that, it’s a lesson that black men in America could all stand to learn and a productive conversation to have. You would much rather burn your own women at the stake in an effort to preserve your pride.
We protect black men at all cost; we protect them so often and so viciously that victims protect their abuser. 60% of black women are sexually assaulted, at least 25% occur in childhood and at least 30% occur in adulthood. These aren’t strangers assaulted women, its people we know. It’s you, your friends, your father, and your uncles. Yet you manage to make excuses about your pervy uncle, further enabling his behavior, and when we come forward you spend your time blaming us. Of the 25% of black women assaulted in childhood, how many of those girls deserved it? Pedophilia within the black community is a real problem, and we encourage it by thinking we can protect our daughters simply keeping them away from Pervy Uncle Joe. 90% of children that are subjected to sexual assault are assaulted by people they know, so you are not protecting your children, you are in fact protecting and enabling Pervy Uncle Joe.
What about those assaulted in adulthood? Their assailants were more than likely not strangers. How many of your friends have gone to a party with the intention of taking a drunk girl home, a girl they know will be comfortable with them? What about your married friends committing spousal rape? What about girls you’ve slept with before these are real situations, situations that you know of. You know about these situations and take part or do nothing. You know about these real life situations and reduce to sluts and whores that got what they went looking for. 
Sexual assault and unhealthy relationships with sex within our communities go all the way back to slavery. Where we were treated like property, raped and beaten in front of our husbands in an effort to diminish your manhood and make you feel helpless. We were forced to bear the masters children in order to produce more livestock, or forced into sex with other slaves in order to create the strongest hardworking offspring. Black women had no choice but to be used as concubines, then suffering the abuses of a jealous spouse. This is where the hypersexualization of black bodies begins, but instead of changing a 400-year-old trend you perpetuate it further. You hypersexualize young black girls, or sit by and listen to your friends do it, you encourage rape culture, and you negate yourself of responsibility when it comes to educating your sons about consent.
So again here we are… begging you to come to our aid. Begging you to see us as victims and not villains. Black men don’t need more allies, you have them, but we do need you. We need you to hold other black men accountable, and we need you to protect us, women and children alike. Stop perpetuating the hypersexualization of our bodies, and taking innocence from us.

The disabled community and police brutality

Social Justice

So just a quick fact about the Holocaust: in a effort to create a pure and superior race the Nazi’s not only murdered Jews but Gypsies (Romanian decent), Slavs, Mulattos, Homosexuals, and the Handicapped.
You may be wondering what that has to do with anything at all, and how it could possibly be relevant today. Well let me share a still very relevant poem by Martin Niemöller that I especially love and the answer may become more apparent.
 

“ First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”

 

In this fight FOR equality and AGAINST police brutality many people find themselves exempt, or find a certain margin of disconnect between themselves other marginalized people. We cannot use these feelings as an excuse to continue to look the other way in terms of police brutality and disenfranchised groups of people. Right now it may not be about you, but eventually it will be your turn. It has been painfully obvious in this fight against police brutality that no demographic is exempt, women, children, and the disabled are all targets as well.

What has become increasingly difficult for me to watch, is the lack of empathy when it comes to police interaction with people of varying forms of disability. Just here in Charlotte North Carolina, A deaf man by the name of Daniel Kevin Harris was gunned down after what police say a seven mile police chase took place. His brother commented that they both had negative experiences with police officers because of the inability to communicate with him, which is what triggered his fear. He was more than likely trying to get home in order to have someone translate for him. Witnesses say he seemed to be doing sign language in an effort to communicate before being shot to death. Should a difficulty communicating be a death wish?


After once again falling down the rabbit hole of facebook comments I found a plethora of individuals that could once again validate this mans death at every turn. No matter how undeserving it actually was. So how many more people have to die because of a miscommunication? May it be a language barrier or a hearing impairment? What’s more concerning is the lack of education in dealing with individuals with disabilities this puts ALL of our disabled family and friends at risk. They are already 50% of the victims of police brutality. So who do we call to help them when they are in need? Or when we as caretakers are in need of assistance? Because lets not forget the behavioral therapist shot while trying to assist his autistic patient. In reality disabled individuals are the reason for 15% of 911 calls, so why aren’t officers better equipped to handle these situations?

My younger sister has a disability and so does her boyfriend. He recently called 911, nothing was wrong and he was scared upon the arrival of the EMT’s, so because he wouldn’t open the door they called the police for assistance. Imagine how this incident could have very easily been tragic. He could have reacted in a way they may have perceived as threatening. So now we have to have conversations about how dangerous the police can be when essentially they should feel comfortable calling them when necessary.

So this isn’t a fight that black straight men are in alone, women, children and the DISABLED are in this fight too. We have to actually be in this as a united front because we are all in this together and we could all be victims at some point. We have to put enough pressure on our local police that they start to implement change and reform, in order to better police in our communities. We know that none of us are immune, so are you going to wait until this mass genocide affects you? Or continue to hope that you can skate by undetected?           

 

 

A reflection on police brutality 

Social Justice

As I become increasingly involved in “The Movement”, (through writing, planning and carrying out events, and speaking engagements) I have become bogged down by emotions and it’s made it harder for me to write these days. And it’s hard because I see myself, my family, and friends in these victims. I even took it upon myself to watch the “The President and the People”, but it only made me increasingly angry and upset. Because we continue to ask for support for “Blue Lives Matter” and we want people to go above and beyond to prove that they are not anti police. `But whose proving to us that they aren’t anti black? I see the anti black rhetoric ALL the time. Who is choosing to stand up to their peers and family members at our expense? I’ve heard people say I’m afraid to send my children out because the Black Lives Matter protestors are out creating a ruckus, or they’re afraid of what will happen to their family members who are police officers.
This is my entire life, except I’m not afraid of protestors because I’m out there with them. I’m afraid of police officers, I’m afraid of what will happen to my husband or child, even my sister or mother. I just recently spoke at candle light vigil for the victims of police brutality(organized by UTEP’s Black Student Union which I’m a member of), where we also gave respect to the police officers in Dallas. I wasn’t a big of some of the things we did but when are we ever all on the accord? Nonetheless I spoke about being fearless in the face of adversity, and by that I meant stop encouraging our children to be victims because this is “A MOVEMENT”. I can’t send my sons out into the world ill prepared: this isn’t the 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s I’m not going to tell my sons that they need to hold their heads down and avert their gaze while speaking to a white person or police officer, Or get caught up in respectability politics and compliance. My son shouldn’t have to do more to avoid being shot by police or vigilantes. We have to stop ruining the childhoods of children of color by telling them not to be too black or brown, and not to have pride in who they are. So many people have to have hard conversations with their children at such a young age. My son cant play with toy guns like most little boys because I’m afraid he’ll be shot within seconds of a police encounter, and the community wont protect him they’ll talk about how he looked so much older and menacing(did you know that’s a problem for children in schools too?) than he actually is and how he shouldn’t have had said toy gun in the first place.
Personally I’m done with the apologist rhetoric, my family is done walking out into life afraid. I can’t constantly be plagued with fear because I see my loved ones in these victims, because at this point we are only accepting accountability for these actions. It has become recklessness with no regard for human life. What’s even worse are the people trying to justify the behavior and the deaths, people that I’ve considered friends.
A disturbing statistic that I’ve come across this week after viewing a video of a North Miami behavioral therapist being shot in front of his patient (whom the police later said they were aiming for), Up to half of victims of police brutality are disabled individuals. For me that’s exceedingly terrifying considering my little sister falls into this category, and like many disabled individuals she has an occasional melt down. If my parents were to call the police for help that would put them all in danger! How disturbing is that? Not only that but my best friend works in a group home with disabled individuals and I fear for her as well, because with a heart similar to my own she would do what she could to protect them if she needed to. I shouldn’t have to worry about her life or the life of my parents for simply doing their jobs, much like this Blue Lives Matter theme we have going on. But your employment and job are temporary, my friends and family will be black forever.
Phillando Castille was simply out with his family when he was killed because he had a registered fire arm which he expressed in the video. That could easily be my father or husband, and society would justify that too. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t be bothered by this? I don’t understand how you can call yourself a friend then justify murder of my people? Because you aren’t truly a friend, you still separate my family and I into the “Other” group, a group you cant really identify with. You just keep us around for entertainment.
Everyday we draw a little closer to an age of disconnect with the black community, and people hate it. They don’t understand why we would separate ourselves when we fought so hard for integration and equal opportunity. We still don’t have it, and honestly black people thrived during segregation because we had to be self-sufficient. As we speak black dollars are being withdrawn from major banks and deposited into black owned banks, children are being withdrawn from school and parents are teaching them at home with amazing black home school communities, black people are quitting their 9-5’s and starting their own businesses. This is the turning point a real revolution, as much as you want to overlook it and turn your head it wont stop. The train has already left the station.