A murder was committed this past weekend. The victim was 17 years old and unarmed. He pled for his life with hands in the air, only to be shot down execution style and left lying on the ground for 4 hours. His name was Michael Brown and his killer was an officer of the law.
Normally, I don’t like to publicly comment on these things. But this time is different. For the past few days I’ve been reading updates on Twitter and watching video coverage on Vine. And while I have a very strong opinion on the injustice in the small suburb of St. Louis, I’ve kept my thoughts on the matter to myself because most people shy away from conversations like this. We’d much rather talk about that new restaurant we heard about the other day and the marathon of old TV shows on Disney Channel last night. But in my silence I am enabling my family and friends to continue their lack of consciousness on the matter, and I just can’t have that.
So here are my thoughts on Michael Brown’s murder and the surge of resistance in Ferguson, MO. Let me forewarn you, these are my initial (and very raw) thoughts. So if I offend you, please know that it was not my intention to do so. My only hope is that this opens a dialogue about race, class and power in our communities.
- Young Black men, your lives matters. Young Black women, your lives matters. Young people, we hold the key to our future in our minds and in our actions. Don’t ever let anyone convince you that you are worthless, you have no hope, or you are less than human. OUR LIVES MATTERS.
- Michael Brown may have been days away from entering his freshmen year in college, but what if he wasn’t? What if he was unemployed? What if he was homeless? What if he was on drugs? Would the police officer have been justified in killing him as he stood there unarmed with his hands up in surrender begging him not to shoot? The short answer to that would be no. The long answer would also be no. Nothing could justify Michael Brown’s murder.
- Black-on-black crime should not be a rebuttal to blue-on-black crime. The uproar against Michael Brown’s murder has more to do with the fact that it was by a police officer–an official whose job is literally to protect and serve. But killing our brothers and sisters, our children even, is still a very real problem–one that also needs to end now.
- I don’t see the effectiveness of the looting and destruction of businesses in Ferguson, MO this weekend. However, psychologically it makes sense that people would escalate to violence. These residents had to look at Michael Brown lying on the ground lifeless for hours. That sent them a message that their lives didn’t matter. A message that they could be killed for no reason at anytime and there was nothing they could do about it. Tell someone they’re nothing over and over again and they will believe you. They will have no fear of the future because they were told that there was no real future for them. So approaching them with violence will only cause a response of violence. Shooting them with rubber bullets, putting dogs on them, rolling through the streets in tanks, and spraying them with tear gas will not frighten them. It will infuriate them. And FYI, most of the protestors and mourners were not looting.
- Racism is alive and well. To think that we live in a post-racial society because you can climb your corporate ladder with a bit more ease is not only ignorant but it’s also lazy. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed just 50 years ago and yet here we are, still being murdered for what? A hoodie? A toy gun? A cigarillo? What?
- The media has become one big joke. I have to get updates on what’s going on in Ferguson from Twitter because blogs are busy trying to find out why Ciara broke off her engagement to Future and news programs are more concerned with the war zone in Gaza than the one right here in good ol’ America. You’ve got to love the irony. Side Note: Thank you, @WesleyLowery @ShaunKing and others for keeping us updated and free Alderman @AntonioFrench. The revolution will not be televised, but it’ll be on twitter though.
- Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are even bigger jokes. Just ask all the peaceful protestors with bullet wounds and the few brave reporters who are now in custody for trying to capture the story. I mean really, the Bill of Rights is so three decades ago (inserts nail filing emoji).
- President Obama, would you like to chime in or did Robin William’s suicide effect you a bit more than that of an innocent young man murdered by your blue and whites? I know that you are the President for America and not Black America. However, there is a “riot” going on involving civilians and the government’s militia. I’d think this warrants some Commander-in-Chief-esque action.
- When will celebrities begin to speak up about the injustice in Ferguson besides a reposted picture and a half-assed caption? Ruby Dee, I apologize. Maya Angelou, I apologize. You and so many more spent your lives and careers fighting for our rights and liberties only to have us turn our backs because our lead single just dropped and endorsements may fall through if we speak up. Please, accept my apologies on behalf of this generation because we have failed you all’s legacy tremendously. Side Note pt. 2: John Legend is the realest man out here in these entertainment streets.
- Christianity and activism should still go hand-in-hand. Yes, we as Christians should pray that The Lord intercedes and moves and blesses and keeps and heals. But to just believe that God will fix it without actually doing anything is foolish. The Bible clearly tells us that and even gives a few biblical examples in James 2:14-26 (read at your convenience). So surely you don’t think that just praying to The Lord and having faith that he will send peace to situations like these will work if you don’t add actions to your prayers. Of course you don’t!
- How many innocent people have to be murdered before you start to care? Sean Bell being shot 50 times on his wedding day didn’t get you. Amadou Diallo didn’t faze you either. And neither did Trayvon Martin or Jordan Davis or Eric Garner or John Crawford or Michael Brown or Ezell Ford. My God, when will this become real enough for you to do something? To those reading this and feeling convicted, good. That’s the first step to actually making a difference. That doesn’t mean quitting your job to take a road trip to Missouri and stand on the front lines with a poster and a gas mask; that may be a bit unreasonable for you. But please, for the love of all the young men in your life, please recognize that THIS is a problem and YOU have the ability to stop it. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” –Matt 18:20