#Charlottesville


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I’m tired.
I’m tired of being tired.

I’m tired of defending my humanity to animals.

What happened in Charlottesville, Virginia is evil. You cannot dress it up, or explain it better. It was evil. And even after that, a young woman was murdered because some hopped-up Nazi rammed his car, RAMMED HIS CAR WITH THE VISIBLE PLATE, through a crowd of people whom had the same right to protest, and be visible as the people that wanted to quiet them.

The strangest thing? These Nazis and Neo-facists, wore ballcaps and sunglasses. Whatcha scared of? If you riding with this foolishness, and you believe like your know God is real, why hide?  See, that’s this bullsh-t behind this. You wanna be bad, but don’t want anyone to know? Nall.

The “POTUS” took 3 days to call this evil. I expect nothing from a bigot except to do bigoted stuff. His Daddy was a racist, so why would he do anything but what he was taught?

I’ve said before, train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it goes both ways. IT GOES BOTH WAYS.

When people feign ignorance about why people are ‘outraged’ by the American Southern Confederacy or Confederate history, I ask them to imagine this.

Imagine the person dearest to you.

Imagine and remember how much you love them.

Now, imagine that person hurt, dead and maimed.

Imagine that you found out who did this/that to them.

And the moment you try and find out why they did it, bring them to some sort of justice, you’re told you can’t. And after you can’t, you’re told you’re gonna have to just get over it. Not just get over it, but you’re given a picture to look at of the perpetrator everyday.

Everyday.

And when you try and remove the picture, tell why you need it gone, how much pain it causes you just to look at it, you’re told that it doesn’t matter. When you throw it away, try and move on, dedicate your life to trying to do better and forgive, it’s thrown in your face because your pain, your memory, your life is seen as irrelevant.

Ergo, you are irrelevant.

Your pain.

Your life.

Your fear.

The lives of the people you love.

 

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None of you matters.

When that is told to you, over and over again, it is meant to strip your humanity from you. It’s meant to drown out any part of you that is enraged, upset and hurting–this viscous Novocaine that is injected into the lives of people, my people, to soften anger and suck tears, and make painful memories bearable, so that we may feel nothing.

Because if we feel nothing, we can do nothing.  

And in doing nothing, nothing can change.

We who are alive and remain aren’t going to do nothing.

Don’t expect us to do nothing especially when you wish and will to do everything to ensure I can do nothing.

No amount of bad haircuts, websites, and ball caps with flags of evil eras will shut me up, or other people whom have had their fires lit and rekindled over that they know is right.

We ain’t going no where.

 

Do It Like Their Dads

The romance surrounding the inception of this nation is nauseating and inspiring. 

There are some, including the current presidential administration, whom have latched on to that peri-post colonial gubernatorial ideal, and made it God, and gospel.

There are some people in this nation, white people/Caucasian people whom have no idea how to handle life going forward:  their world has been shattered.

 The things that were whispered about in tobacco fields, around water coolers, and in small kitchens—the myth has been busted. This thing called ‘whiteness’ has been reduced to a phantasm. 

The nation looked in its collective closet, and told the last one to get out when President Barack H. Obama was elected. Whiteness lost its power and with it, the right to be deemed special to be white. 

By no means, am I saying racism ENDED with  his election. What I saw then was the same fear I see now that fuels racism. 

What I saw was this unveiling of what racist, bigoted white people saw as their ‘right to be special.’ They were exposed as not to be special, select and diety as they had lied to others as being. 
The world had become a little more fair, and they couldn’t stand it. 

Moreover, the predominately non-POC, white male Congress had to ANSWER to a BLACK PRESIDENT. The myth of  this being a white man’s country was being busted and broken right before their eyes and they had to do something. Anything to regain that stance and stature. That behavior is no better than any other addict.

Racism has its roots in fear and power. How better to exercise both than politics and policy?

But the most sinister thing? The need to regain this power, this ability to wield death and confusion at hunches, same way their forefathers did? It would seem they lusted for the chance to call minority people the names they would get fired for at such prestigious positions now.

 They seem turned on by the fact that because Cinnamon Hitler Voldemort is now president, the legacy of President Obama can be obliterated and the non-desirables and other miscreants can be vanquished so whiteness can regain its rightful place.

And where is that exactly? 

This country was inhabited by native people when the colonists landed. It was those people that if they had not helped them, they would have died. There is no America without immigrants, especially people of color and other native peoples.

The fact of the matter is, I feel sorry for racist people and point at bigots. Why? This is energy spent frivolous. You hate people over something that they cannot control. 

Really? 
And you expect that to happen and not meet resistance, but are shocked at the resistance? No.  #Snowflakes.

There will be vicious resistance. My humanity is not limited or balanced by you or popular opinion. It is not up for debate because you can’t cope because you’re not longer special and the world is fair. It is not up for debate because humanity isn’t a debate. Whiteness is a social construct, just like race–it, too, can be dismantled through time and effort.

The guard indeed is changing, and it seems like something out of the Twilight Zone. There is the guard that is adamant to continue to be the rock that suffocates and snuffs the life and change around it…but frustrated that life finds a way, pushing around the rock, and flourishing in spite of opposition. 

In that sustained, growth and resistance, there is change.

There are pictures  made postcards of monstrous activities at barbeques, and smiling faces pointing towards the strange fruit handing from swaying branches of quieter trees around these necktie parties.

These sheeted figures that grin with pointed hoods, looking salient and radiant as if what they are doing is righteous. How indignant their descendants are now that within the last decade, they have had  to call a black man, sir. 

That intoxicating fantasy is what they chase after, what they long to regain. Why they occupy certain seats of power in politics.  Even why a man Corretta Scott King warned us of 30-some years ago is now Attorney General. 

Again, racism is only concerned with power.

 Always power. 

It is when that power is taken, threatened, and stripped down to the stale, sorry corpse it is, there is this shrill backlash to cover it back up…and make it all go away.

Truth is, we know racism isn’t going away. 

Truth is, the opposition and exposure of it isn’t going away.

  In quoting  Roland Martin from TV ONE, in reference to one of his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers, I believe this could not be a more apt quote in how I view this situation:

“We will fight until Hell freezes over, and then we will fight on the ice.”

 #IGotTimeToday

 

 

And We Speak

“Mike Brown saved my life.”

-A. Templeton, 2015*

 

August 9, 2014:

My husband and I were headed to our Saturday night service in South St. Louis. We were living in Ferguson, and had lived there with our kids for about a year. We were new pastors and our church plant was Spirit Of Life Church. We left home, and he was driving. There was so much traffic on West Florissant. It was backed up and we were upset about the possibility of being late. My husband, the meticulous one of the two of us, was eager to get where we were going.

I remember having this cold feeling. It wasn’t dread, but something was wrong. It’s a feeling I have had only since I have become a parent. This sense that something within me, part of me, a thread of my being was pulled and I could not catch it to cut it. I told my husband something bad must have happened. I took out my phone, and looked through what was trending. It wasn’t until I got to service, that I had found out what happened:

Officer-involved shooting. 18-year-old African-American male. Dead.

His name: Michael Brown, Jr.

 

They left him outside in the street for four hours. We had been in that traffic. We had been within the net of all that had gone on, and complained about being late for service. We had just seen people strewn along the sidewalks and streets, confused and angry, clutching one another and I had fussed about the traffic and wanted to get to service.

What followed from that day was the beginning of what has become no less than a tidal wave. We were swept into this roux of people that we would have never passed on streets, avoided in stores and never spoken to in public. Our neat bubble was broken, yet we had not died. I remembered how loud I cried, how hard I prayed, and how I cried to God not to let them kill all of us.

There is a scripture in the book of Isaiah that reads as follows, in part:

Here I am Lord, send me. (Isaiah 6:8)

This resistance, this activism is service. It is this that compels me to speak and to be a vessel for such speech. Such amazing things happen in the course of hours, and days, and it was this single event that has unlocked portions of my faith that I had only whispered about.

Part of the prayer I shouted as my biblical foremothers, in their strength, their passion, was, “Lord, you see what they are doing! Don’t let them kill all of us!”

There is something to be said for that type of endurance born from such a place. It ignites. It unlocks. It unties. And most of all, it UNITES.

Here. I. Am. Lord. Send. Me.

It is sometimes in the the face of lions, that you discover that you, too, can roar. And you must. Sometimes, your voice, hands and feet are the tools God uses and sends to be change and the answer to prayer. Indeed, He does move in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.

And sometimes we are His instruments.

 

*-This a direct quote taken by a young woman I have been blessed to know that I will only identify as A. Templeton. When she first said this quote, I remarked on how open it was, and how candid it was. And as I reflect, this quote became applicable to and for the people I have encountered since this day 3 years ago. The wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. echoes through it: 

Our lives begin to end the day be become silent about things that matter.

 

 

Hell Yes, I’m Mad!

I am not a good Negro.

I am mad, and let everyone know. I am not able to sweep away madness, and laugh it away. If asked if I’m upset, I answer, “Hell yes, I’m mad.”

I am the mother of black children, the wife of a black man, and sister of a black man, and the cousin of black men. The same black men that are being hunted by law enforcement. Hell yes, I’m mad.

I have been in the city of my birth almost 40 years, and not seen policing change, interaction with police improve, and see no reason to believe Blue Lives Matter, because Blue Lives don’t exist. Hell yes, I’m mad. My skin color is a weapon to portions of law enforcement.

Just this morning, while going through my social media, I saw a post from the page titled Thin Blue Line Society. In that post, they were selling these tote bags with the scripture from the Book of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 9:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.

Wait a damn minute.

Now, I don’t wanna hear anything else about the ‘good police’ and ‘how hard and thankless their jobs are.’ I don’t wanna hear it! You wanna know what’s hard? Being the wife, mother, daughter, son, husband of someone whom is black. You wanna know what’s hard? Seeing someone you love reduced to blog notes and hashtags. You wanna know what’s hard? Explaining to your child that because you live where you live, you have to adjust your conduct so you don’t make police suspicious, so that they ‘fear for their lives.’ Hell yes, I’m mad.

And stop asking us to stop being mad.

Stop asking us to stop being vocal.

Stop asking us to wait. STOP ASKING US TO WAIT.

“…we’ve been floating the country on credit…”

-Jesse Williams, activist/actor

Blessed are the peacemakers, indeed.

But what peace? At what cost of peace? What peace are they protecting? I really need to know because, hell yes, I’m mad.

There can be no peace where the innocent are not safe, and those charged to ensure their peace care not for it because it is of no benefit.

What am I mad about? You really wanna know?

Aight, I’ll tell you.

I’m mad that it has taken this long for this nation to realize the cancerous nature of fugitive slave law policing. From that cancer, it has metastasized to the body that we call justice.

I’m mad that my skin tone, something I cannot control, is seen as a weapon due to this cancerous nature of current policing that has its place in Fugitive Slave Law practices.

I’m mad that my husband can’t drive his car in North STL county without being stopped because he drives a newer model car, and its nice and the County police automatically run the plates since a black man is driving it, it must be stolen.

I’m mad at 13 I saw my cousin accosted by STLMPD in my grandmother’s front door.

I’m mad at 9 my father got pulled over with my younger siblings in the car for nothing. For nothing.

I’m mad that Missouri is now on the TRAVEL ADVISORY for the NAACP because the ‘peacemakers’ don’t know that Black Lives Matter. In 2017.

I’m mad that in order for me to bring attention to something, for us all to bring attention to what is happening to us as a people, we damn near burned a city to the ground–and for that? For us demanding justice and pointing out bullsh-t and hypocrisy?  They rolled Bearcats, teargas and pulled assault rifles on people of my hue not even a mile from my house, but I’m supposed to be okay with it because ‘they’re the police.’

I’m mad because my voice is damn near stolen on a day to day basis, but it comes through my hands.

I’m mad that I have to fight to be seen as human, when everything that is human about me is taken for profit.

But again, blessed are the peacemakers.

The activists–the policy changers, the steady, sentient clergy, the engaged politicians, the actual law-abiding, non-murderous police–those that really want to effect change, are peacemakers.

They work, we work, for the benefit of all those that will benefit for the better of a situation. They, us, we work to bring light and noise to things that people want to silence and muffle and stunt. Peace is what is given after struggle, the reward for such work. It is not the job of the peacemakers to ensure the ease and comfort of their oppressors.

It is not the job of peacemakers to make peace with things that prevent peace. Nothing about that is peacemaking. That is being complicit. Hell yes, I’m mad.

You want to know what peacemaking is?

Peacemaking requires bravery. You must be willing to confront the quiet, the quiet is comfortable. Peacemaking requires compassion. Your compassion must compel you to action. Peacemaking requires boldness. It requires you to be able to roar in the face of those that intend to silence you to immobilize you.

Peacemaking requires wisdom and strength–they work together as weapons to help you focus and assist and help, even if that person is yourself. And those things which I cannot do, I give to the Almighty.

So, yes…I’m mad. I have good reason to be. But I have a better reason to be a peacemaker, for anger is useless put towards a positive purpose.

Be a peacemaker.

Birthing Ida B. Wells Barnett

When I was a kid, I loved the month of February. I loved Black History Month. The most vivid classroom I remember, was Mrs. Annie Green. Her room was always covered in books, and posters, and in February? She had these icons of African-American history stapled above her blackboard. It was in her class that I began to become ravenous about African-American history. And it was in her class that I was introduced to Ida B. Wells Barnett.

I admit it…I was saturated with her. I called her one of the Faithful Four. Those four:

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

-Frederick Douglass

-Harriet Tubman

-Ida B. Wells Barnett

This was one of the main reasons I ran after history, and soaked it up. There HAD to be more black people that did great things besides them. Ida B. Wells Barnett, I knew the basics about her. She was born right before Emancipation. Her parents died of yellow fever. She raised her sister. Helped found the NAACP. She was a writer. She married a guy in the newspaper business and died in Chicago.

It wasn’t until I got older that I dug into her life, and could appreciate everything that she did. She wrote about lynching, oppression, economic disparity and white supremacy. She wrote about women’s suffrage. This is a time where it cannot be overstated that my ancestors weren’t supposed to read, let alone be college educated and be able to relate and relay an experience! Granted, she was educated initially during Reconstruction, and then at Fisk, but I had to embrace what it is that she did. And the time that she did it.

The sheer fact that she existed, and made her words the this wielded machete that laid a path for other women of color to see. I saw the work she did and revered her. I saw her boldness as archetype, and thought if I could do an once of that…it would be magnificent.

If I could harness that passion to say what I need to say no matter who didn’t want to hear it, harness that collective energy to effect and affect change–how awesome would that be?

In this time of forward moving, I use her as reference, as anchor, and as hero. I remember that this talent is both gift and weapon. My observation and recording is my armory and words my arsenal. From that, I reveal, revel, mourn and conceal. Nothing can be hidden from the observant.

I embrace the weight being a writer, an activist, comes with. It grants me a peace that I believe my foremother Ida  had:  Someone has to tell the truth, might as well be me.