Deeper Story: #BlackLivesMatter and Vigilance

“Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition.
But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”

― Malcolm X

Trayvon Martin.

Photos of his face covered my Facebook and Twitter. Hoodie and all brown eyes. A red tshirt over the slim body of a smiling, carefree young boy. Dark hat slung low over his eyes and a hardness in his face.

When George Zimmerman was declared innocent in the murder of this innocent child I was in the throes of postpartum depression from the birth of the twins. They were about five months old, and I was still in denial that I had any problems. I chalked it up to hormones and sleeplessness. But, I was so angry. Always so angry. And with Trayvon’s death and his killer’s acquittal, I became even more agitated vacillating between an exhaustion rooted in the heavy physicality of raising babies and a growing discomfort at the reality that the world these babies were growing up in was ugly and violent.

I was angry and didn’t know that it was actually okay to be angry. I started taking medication and though it dulled the anger it didn’t take away those deeper seeds of discontent at a deeper reality. That it wasn’t the fact that he was dressed “suspiciously,” or “running away,” or “out late at night.” That he was killed because he was black.

At the time I didn’t know what else to do but take the obligatory selfie – all of us in hoodies, and then later again, with Ozzie almost a year later, we all wore hoodies to church one hot summer Sunday morning. I’m painfully aware of the ways we dilute anti-blackness even when we’re trying to show solidarity.

My hands were subconsciously tucked into my sleeves.

We received some strange looks. I didn’t say a word.

***

Mike Brown.

His body face down on the street. Alone. A pool of blood streaming from his body. Police and tape making a wide berth around him as neighbors begin to gather in the area to protest the death of this child.

I keep thinking about his hands in the air. Hands to show that they were empty. Hands to show that he was unarmed. Hands to show he was terrified and asked for help.

Hands that held a cap and gown. Hands that held a diploma. Hands that once held his mother’s hands.

His hands. Didn’t they see his hands were up?

***

Eric Garner. Renisha McBride. Jordan Davis.

I’m not just thinking in terms of these children being someone’s children. Or brother. Or sister. Or friend. Or loved one. Whether they were going to start college. Whether they were drunk driving and wrecked a car. Whether they were holding stolen goods. Whether they were wearing a hoodie.

They are children of God and no one deserves to ever be gunned down and slaughtered in this way.

We’ve not done enough. Enough. Enough in the history of this world to express that #blacklivesmatter.

“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”

―Malcolm X

Enough is enough.

Because “faith without works of love and justice is dead,” (@andykort). I’ll speak out. I’ll stand. I’ll pray. I’ll point fingers. I’ll work. I’ll be a killjoy. I’ll support and boost. I’ll listen to the voices that matter this time and all the time. I’ll speak of anti-blackness, white supremacy, state-sanctioned police brutality and violence because the white narrative isn’t enough.

People are talking about it.

#christiantwitter didn’t think anyone was talking about it. Is it because you’re not following the voices that matter? Will you listen to the voices that you’ve silenced and marginalized? Will you listen to the voices that have been crying out and the ones you’ve ignored and erased and deemed illegitimate? Will you listen to the voices that you extinguish on a daily basis?

Enough is enough. For God’s sake, enough is enough.

“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”

―Malcolm X