#BlackLivesMatter – The Movement Continues
by: Drew Williamson
The fight for justice and proper treatment of all persons by law enforcement has been an unremitting struggle people have dealt with for years. From Baltimore to LA, police profiling, brutality, and harassment is an unfortunate part of life for many Americans. With protests, petitions and campaigns to end the injustices within our justice system happening everyday you have to ask yourself, when will we have our change? However the clash has come to somewhat of a stalemate; in the words of Heath Ledgers Joker: what happens when an immovable object (the police) collides with an unstoppable force (we the people) ?
American people are desperate for an answer to this most puzzling of questions and here it is: stay unstoppable. In a democratic republic we elect officials on our behalf to represent our ideals, hopes and beliefs on a larger scale. It is time we took the necessary steps into making our elected officials the megaphones to voice our needs and hold them accountable for all the campaign promises they have made.
The rioting in Baltimore was a heinous act out of desperation, anger and grief. Violence is never the answer, burning buildings down will not resolve anything but at least, after all these years, the people of Baltimore have finally received the attention they deserved. Still don’t understand the reason for their rioting? Let’s use this analogy: You’re on a ship, it has a hole in it and you wind up on a deserted island. You scream, no one comes for you, you wrote SOS in the sand and still no one has come for you. Finally you decide to set that ship on fire to get a planes attention for help, when people finally show up they get upset over the fact you burned the boat rather than why you did in the first place. The issue with America looking in at the crisis in Baltimore is that everyone’s primary concern is the fact that they burned down their neighborhoods rather than why they did.
However, let’s not forget or dismiss the people of Baltimore’s continued attempts at a peaceful protest despite their years of mistreatment and abuse in their OWN neighborhoods. Not to mention the harassment they dealt with from outsiders, primarily white, who instigated and assaulted the protestors first.
The most recent protest (and most beautiful may I add) took place in San Fransisco’s financial district. Topless female demonstrators took to the streets to advocate the police related deaths of black women. A powerful and moving site to behold as topless women, not just black, honored the names of women such as Rekia Boyd who have been recent victims of police brutality.
An incredible victory in the struggle for justice was recently in Cleveland, where the police departments racially charged police tactics have been under serious scrutiny. Cleveland PD has agreed to abide by strict and some exacting standards; Some of which are the most demanding in the nation. These standards cover how and when Cleveland Police officers can use force, and Cleveland PD will also be accepting strict oversight to ensure that these new rules are followed without any neglect.
The only thing we can do is stay unstoppable, keep asking the hard hitting questions, question everything, keep protesting, read, keep yourself educated and never stop fighting. The fight for justice is only a small battle in the war for peace. We must be unrelenting in our demands and we can never give up. And just as the poem Invictus invokes, No matter how strait the gate how charged with punishments the scroll we are the masters of our fate we are the captains of our soul. We must stay awake and never stop working toward a day when a black mother doesn’t have to be concerned about the people in charge of protecting her son, being the ones who killed him. The day when Mexican-American women don’t have to worry about their husbands be wrongly detained or arrested as an illegal immigrant. The day Muslim fathers no longer have to fret over the fact that their daughters may be harassed or profiled for their Hijab. The war for peace and love starts with the fight for justice. It begins with holding those who in charge of our safety accountable for their actions and our pain.
No longer will we be the silenced majority, and no longer can we afford to be for the expense of our silence is a life. No longer can we allow media discourse shaped by generals, corporate executives and government officials tell us what is and isn’t news. No longer can we allow them to tell us what’s fact and what’s fiction. For it is the deafening silence of mainstream media that that weakens our regimes of peace. As Amy Goodman, award winning journalist and founder of Democracy Now! says in her book The Exception to the Rulers, “If you are opposed to war, you are not a fringe minority. You are not a silent majority. You are part of the silenced majority. Silenced by mainstream media.” Simply put, you are stronger than they’d like you to believe. The fight for justice will go on as long as this country allows and defends law enforcement to act recklessly and irrationally with the lives of those they have sworn to protect.