The current climate of this nation scares and unsettles me sometimes. Lately, it’s been breaking my heart. When I learned about what happened to George Floyd and saw a paused video of him being brutally asphyxiated by a police officer, I couldn’t bring myself to watch what happened. But I knew another black male had his life snatched away. Again. Unfairly and unjustly. The whole world is going through this again. There’s a video. There have been riots. There have been protests. And there are a lot of people who are angry, sad, frustrated, and tired of seeing this happen. And still, many wonder, will justice be served? Will this become a normal thing for the black community and others? Are we really free? Were we ever?
One of the lyrics from America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee) has a memorable line that reads, “Let freedom ring.” It’s a beautiful sentiment but unfortunately isn’t a reality for many in the black community. I’ve often been reminded that in different situations, from school, in college, in different stepping-stone jobs I’ve held, and even as an educated adult with my whole life ahead of me, that there are people who have a problem with those who differ from them in race. Being black, which is something I love and that I’m proud to embody, can be perceived as a threat. And black men have it even worse. I’ve seen it. I’ve grown up around it, and in recent years, things have grown progressively worse. While we’re no longer bound by slavery, in a lot of different ways, we’re still not free. I wonder…
When will we be free from the injustices?
When will we be free from systems that continually fail us?
When will we be free from systemic racism?
When will we be free from blatant bigotry?
When will we be free from black mothers burying their babies?
When will we be free from the I can do whatever I want to you and get away with it mentality?
When will we be free from microaggressions?
When will we be free from the hate?
When will we be free from racial profiling?
When will we be free from the brutality?
When will we be free from the murders?
And what about all the other black boys, who prayerfully, get the chance to live long enough to become black men someday? Where’s their hope? Don’t their lives and futures matter too?
Let freedom ring.
Let freedom ring for all the lives lost from these tragedies.