So while there are too many to name and so many great civil rights activists and people who were part of this movement – I’m naming some of the greats and my favorites here.
I’ve been wanting to share this because I’ve always known and felt deeply of the injustices that blacks the world over endure, but now with the current climate it’s timely.
The injustices that have been suffered at the hands of police are nothing knew to black people. Thank god for the advances in technology.
This advancement seems to be the greatest ally in this fight against police misconduct and brutality. And honestly it’s really not just police brutality, but white entitlement that roars its ugly head across the country day in day out.
What is it about white women and at times white men, but particularly white women that has them wanting to police ordinary minorities, mostly blacks but at times others for no good reason other than skin color?
I’ve been victim to white policing by both white women and men. I’ve been told to go back to my country. I’ve been told to get the fuck out of off leash dog parks while they prance and roam around with their dogs off leash. And while the two people who accosted me on two separate incidences in the same park happen to both be white, their dogs weren’t. No pun intended. And again these are just two examples. I have dozens as a minority. Not comparing whatsoever, but affirming the racism that is prevalent and perhaps I have greater empathy cause I cannot simply turn a blind eye.
I know black people have it so bad and my awareness would never allow me to compare my encounters with the ongoing horror of being black in America. The statistics speak for themselves. More than a hundred unarmed black men and women in 2015 alone were shot and killed by police. Mapping Police Violence is a great place to check the data. The numbers are far greater than what makes the news. Staggering to say the least.
Having access to recording at the palm of our fingertips is a great way to expose the sickness. And it doesn’t cease. It seems every single day there is a new video of someone being harassed for the color of their skin. There are series of white now known as Karen’s that pop off whenever some inner sense of White Fragility is triggered at the site of a black person or minority. Mercury News did this piece calling out all the Karens from Pacific Heights to Amy Cooper to Meghan Markle’s best friend – she is just about as racist as they come.
I ask people to go inward and self reflect. I believe this calls for a history lesson and taking a moment to honor those who have fought this fight for far too long.
And these beautiful men were the face of the movement decades ago, but the injustices continue so the fight must go on.
In the words of the great Malcolm X – “It will never be stopped until we stop it ourselves.” He was deemed a threat because of his charisma and ability to speak prolifically and dynamically about racism. And for racists getting called out is a scary thing. I appreciated his candor and toughness. Unapologetically black in the 50s and 60s takes guts and bravery of epic proportions.
And when people are so oblivious to the injustices and all they know to do is turn a blind eye and point accusatory fingers then let the mighty men and women who will continue paving a path for equality and justice to forge ahead. May God give them strength, bravery, courage and powerful voices that rumble across the world.
And let all those who are sleeping awaken. You don’t have to be part of the movement. You don’t have to acknowledge your ignorance, just simply WAKE UP.
And again I preface this by saying there were so many great leaders and voices, far too many to list, but these are a few of them I admire dearly.
Cogressman John Lewis – The honorable John Lewis is a force to be reckoned with. He is considered one of the most courageous voices of the Civil Rights movement. He’s been beaten and bloodied by the cops. Cuffed and arrested for marching peacefully in the 60’s and he continued on to winning a seat in the 5th Congressional district of Georgia more than thirty years ago. He spent his entire life fighting for civil liberties. I was moved to inconsolable tears at the sight of watching this real life hero watching Barack Obama be elected president. A day Congressman Lewis never thought he’d live to see. He is to be admired with awe for his determination and might to see a new dawn for his people.
Carmichael Stokely – This Trinidadian rebel with a cause was prolific in his push for justice. He marched alongside King and spoke out mightily against the injustices and plight of blacks. He lead the movement and quickly became recognized as a formidable force to contend with. His charisma, passion and determination to see his cause to the end gave him Saintly status and he is a legend who will go down in the history books as a admired and feared leader of the civil rights movement. He spoke fiercely and poetically about racial injustice and his voice resonated around the world. He is recognized the world over as a hero giving him legendary status.
Hewey P Newton – was a revolutionary. He co-founded the Black Panther Party in Oakland. He had a ten point program for helping Blacks find freedom and liberation from oppression. He was deemed an enormous threat by the FBI. He earned a Ph.D. in social philosophy. He was an advocate for self-defense and this alone made him a threat to racists across the nation. The idea of a black man earning a college degree and encouraging other blacks to stand up for themselves is a scary notion to the oppressor. The oppressor wants nothing, but to continue the oppression.
What is it about black people that many whites find so threatening? Is it the dynamism? Is it the charisma? Is it the resilience? The bravery? The resolve? What? This is a conversation I’d like to delve deeper into.
Eldridge Cleaver and Kathleen Cleaver are a dynamic duo – more on this dynamic duo in a later post. The baddest coolest couple on a mission for equality and justice.
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Shortly after crossing this bridge during a civil rights march on the day that became known as Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965.
They marched from Selma to Montgomery and moments after this picture was taken John Lewis was accosted by a policeman for the crime of being black, although the authorities at the time alleged they ad the right to use force. Lewis stood defenseless as is the case still today for many black men who are trailed and pursued for the very fact that they are black. Implicit bias at it’s finest. It’s beyond evident. Numbers do not lie.
There are a disproportionate number of black men incarcerated across the U.S. and a huge number of those have been accused basely for crimes they did not commit and do the time simply because they are black.
Reform is necessary in so many ways.
I believe officers need to be carefully vetted and thoroughly trained, not just how to pull the trigger at a whim, but to learn human psychology and self-examine their own implicit racism that many times they are unaware of. They need to learn how to de-escalate and learn to understand people outside of their own race in a way that they don’t have an automatic response mechanism to want to just blindly shoot in what they later always term “self-defense.”
Learning to feel safe and less judging of people who look like you, might have different skin tone takes a deeper understanding and we cannot assume that cops are above that because we’ve seen far too many times they are not.