This past semester, I graduated from my Alma Mater, UM-St. Louis (UMSL). At this university, I was blessed–yes, blessed!–to have taken my ENGL 3720: Literature After 1865. This class taught … Continue reading Black Girls Aren’t Allowed To Be Mad–They Are ‘Bitter’
I grew up in St. Louis. I grew up where there is nothing but the talk of baseball season permeating every conversation from here to Chicago. I mean, Opening Day? … Continue reading March Madness: Black Women Be Knowin'
Welcome to Black History Month. When I say welcome, I sincerely mean that. Due to some of you seem to act like Black, POC (person/people of color), African Americans, “ethnic”, … Continue reading 29 Days Of Blackness: Respect My Melanin!
Voter suppression is real. The latest example of this can be seen in the 2016 Presidential election. Which was followed in succession by the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia. We … Continue reading If It Wasn’t Important, They Wouldn’t Steal It: Stacey Abrams Is Fighting Voter Suppression
It will take more to clean up the reputation of law enforcement than officers playing catch with kids, stopping people with ‘good tickets’, or buying groceries. The local representation of … Continue reading Blessed Are The Peacemakers–But Where Are They?
Ms. McKinnies was a prominent protest organizer in the wake of the murder of Michael Brown, Jr. in August 2014. I cannot imagine what is like to see your child … Continue reading In The Middle Of Everything: Justice For Danye Jones
Admin Note: This piece uses strong language, and is frank with its candor concerning activism. It is important such pieces be written as it makes plain the frustration which sometimes … Continue reading Not Today…
The US has the “highest rate of maternal mortality in the industrialized world.” In the United States, the maternal death rate averaged 9.1 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births during the years 1979–1986, but then rose rapidly … Continue reading The Righteous Work Of JAMAA Birth Village
Five years ago, I was in a car with my kids, husband and my cell phone. I was screaming, crying and praying in our church service. At that moment, my life, due to a young man I did not know named Michael, changed it.
In five years, I have seen people embroiled in this Ferguson movement die, be murdered under mysterious circumstances, stalked by law enforcement, move away, run for office, and be exposed as frauds! I’ve seen people stan law enforcement to and with religious zeal—and I’ve seen people beat up because of it!
In five years, I have questioned my own strength. My faith. My ability to protect my own children. I have been triggered by loud noises. Fire crackers. Too many police cars on the street. Blue Lives Matter flags. Big crowds.
My life has totally changed.
Yet, the trajectory of that night five years ago, created this space. Enabled me to write rather than cry. To view the world, and myself as James Baldwin instructs.
There will be some that will, still use the hashtags, famous names and check-ins as social clout! But those of us who saw guns pulled on people going to work; bearcats on West Florissant Boulevard; tear gas canisters breaking on streets you drive and shop on; and children that look like yours tear gassed in their own backyards; if you weren’t there, you don’t get to weigh in!
But in this, from this, I want to draw attention to the foundation set up by Michael Brown, Sr.: CHOSEN FOR CHANGE. The mission of the foundation is simple:
Saving lives one day at a time through empowering youth, strengthening families and giving back.
In this, dear ones, I have no deep resounding 5-year reflection. I have no deep, saged reflections. There are people I know personally still on the ground giving time, talent, love, money and energy to make Ferguson better. To make their local neighborhoods better like my tribe Fran Griffin (now Councilwoman Griffin!) Emily and Tony. Still feeding the homeless, like Cathy “Mama Cat” Daniels with PotBangerz!
There is more to this memorializing of August 9, 2014 than death, lies and police corruption! This is a day for some of us, where the life we lived before changed! Where we found passions, causes and careers that allowed us to flourish! Where we began to examine our lives, circumstances and social circles to change them.
It’s a long way to go.
But the adage goes:
If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
In real communities, real activism occurs. And we will go farther–together.