It’s been a little over a week since the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and I haven’t addressed it personally on the platform that I was given. Upon my initial reaction, it was difficult for me to write anything. I sat with a blank page trying to allow my thoughts and emotions to hit the page and come across my screen. Maybe a day or two later, very few thoughts became words…
The emotions that I’ve experienced in a matter of two days have left me completely baffled. My heart literally hurts because of what has transpired. In a matter of two days. In a matter of hours. So many thoughts, so many emotions. So much, that it’s even difficult to write. A little difficult to comprehend that we still live in a society like this. A society where white police officers can shoot a man down when they haven’t even reached for a weapon. A society where a white police officer can literally shoot a man six times, SIX, on the ground at close proximity. A society where a white police officer can shoot a man down for complying to what he was told to do. In the presence of his girlfriend and a child in the backseat. It just isn’t right. But somehow we find ourselves in the same place over and over again.
I’m not the most articulate writer, but it’s my duty to speak on things that ultimately affect my community. Alton Sterling, Plilando Castile, and the countless names that proceeded them could have very well been my brother. My dad. My uncles. Nephews. Cousins. I’m angry, heartbroken, and so many other emotions. My heart aches for these families, for my community, for our families.
I don’t by any means have all of the solutions, but we can’t sit idle while this happens. It took me a while to watch the video footage of these murders as they surfaced. I’ve heard people say they’re not surprised. But every time it happens, I’m still shocked. I’m still saddened by it. And it just keeps cutting deeper and deeper.
The day after these events, I saw flashing lights as I left work and walked to the train and I immediately felt angry. We shouldn’t have to feel this way about people go should be helping and protecting.
After seeing the videos, after anger rose up; what are we going to do? What can we do to erupt change? How can we fight for our rights in positive effective ways. Without violence, without innocent blood being shed. Without invoking the same pain we feel on the families of others.
I haven’t been able to post anything on social media. I couldn’t without a solution to this madness. I didn’t want to just talk about it. I’m not blind to the situation, nor have I been completely silent. I’ve had many conversations with family and friends. However, it’s time to take action. We can’t sit idle and just continue to express our concerns and feelings without moving. We need to gather together, United, to take a stand. We need to educate our youth. Keep them abreast of the times, but helping to avoid them from being in these scenarios. Although it can happen at anytime, to anyone, the conversation must be had.
There have been plenty of marches and meetings held on light of these situations. One I intended to go to, but wasn’t able to. However, my church held an event last night. An event where people from anywhere can come join together and share their opinions. There was an opportunity to voice your feelings, ideas, suggestions, solution. A judgement free space. It was amazing to hear the thoughts of others. Some feelings we all may have felt. There were so many positive ideas and opinions that came across that microphone. People from the community as well as those who are I’m office. Below are a few of the concerns and solutions of any are interested in knowing what they can do next. There may be some you may or may not agree with, but these are the voices of our communities.
- Educate our youth. Warning them of what to do and what not to do. Creating a curriculum so that our young black children can know their rights.
- More African Americans running for office.
- These events are things that have been happening for years. Through the pipeline. But it is something that has been excused for many years. We need elected officials who are willing to change the law.
- Go to borough hall. Going to your local assembly meetings. Get to know who’s working for us. The people who can go to bat for us.
- Being aware of our image. What is the perception that we are sending. Are we creating a negative image to the cops? Are we afraid of one another, which in turn puts the police officers in a place of fear?
- Creating affordable or free programs for our youth. For our black community. We must find ways to educate our youth and keep them engaged. In order to keep them out of certain situations.
- Where there’s no plan the people perish.
- A village. Kids are now raising themselves. We lost community somewhere. That’s where we lost community policing. We need to get back to the community (village) raising our youth. Helping them and showing them the way.
These are just a few. How will you go about erupting change in society. Thing about some of these things, process it, feel it, and let’s get to work! Change has to come, and it has to start with us.