In this Time... We Must Act!
In This Time…
We are outraged. We take to the streets, screaming our pain. We call for justice. Criminals hijack our movement with looting and property damage. Videos become evidence of racism. Videos become evidence that separates protesters from criminals.
Social media posts emerge with instructions on how to be human. How to be good people. How white people should treat black people…or should we say people of color? Political leaders make sound bites that will advance their position. Media leads with the violence while putting the call for justice in the subtitle.
A wise activist mentor once told me never do an action without a demand. Tell those in power precisely what you want them to do. Give them the solution you are looking for.
We demand racial justice. So, when we say racial justice, what do we want?
We want action and recognition that racial justice and economic justice are not the same. We could achieve economic justice, and racism would persist. Yes, we want justice for all.
But, In This Time…we demand racial justice.
We demand a restructuring of education, housing, financial, healthcare, mental health, food security, supply chain, employment, voting rights, commerce, criminal justice, and all other social constructs such that they are equitable. There are racial walls in these systems that prevent access. We need to tear down those walls.
We need to tear down these walls legislatively. We need to tear down these walls through reimagined systems design. We need to tear down these walls, ensuring that those impacted by these systems have the power to influence how these systems are designed and implemented.
What we do not need is to have a conversation – We demand strategic planning and implementation. We demand that our leaders commit to bringing together people from multiple races to strategize, plan, mobilize, and implement systemic changes with specific benchmarks and timeframes. We need to hold these bodies accountable, ensuring there is a forward movement.
We call on our mosques, temples, churches, and communities, both non-faith-based and faith-based, focused on moral growth to work with their people on interracial relationships. Wherever people commune to talk about beliefs, freedoms, and growth, interracial relationships need to be part of that growth. We need to call on our neighborhoods to be inclusive of all races. Our neighborhoods need to be communities where people are safe. We need to call on our families, both biological and chosen, to teach values of inclusion and justice. We need these communities to be responsible for teaching the rights and responsibilities of being citizens of a great nation.
Frederick Douglass said: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.”
We are in the midst of a mighty struggle. We are in the middle of the storm, with the mighty waters of the ocean throwing us around. We have been here before. Let us make sure we do not return here again.
So, feel the pain. Let it flow through you. Let it energize you to get through the storm. We have a mighty work to do. I, too, am tired, but I also know that I must get up tomorrow morning and continue the struggle, for I am invested in making progress.
The time for conversation is over. We must act!