“Breathe young man…. Breathe.” I kept telling myself this as I watched the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. The swelling of the crowd and the charged emotions appeared to overflow into my living room. However, the situation was deep in my heart. Like most African-Americans, I kept my eyes on the TV awaiting word if justice would take its course. Michael Brown’s mother stood on top of a car to hear the prosecutor’s hollow words. Justice will not come this night. Nor will peace to Ferguson Missouri. Her screams of anger gave way to uncontrollable tears of pain. Once family and supporters hugged Brown’s mother and whisked her away, the looting and unrest began. Everything I wrote about in the blog “Close to Combustion’ was coming to fruition.
Nothing blinds you more than anger.
I was consumed. Everything became black and white. I looked at the world I enjoyed with scrutiny rooted in spite. I felt alienated by the very law that is sworn to serve and protect me. I am far from naïve. Racial profiling and disproportionate sentences are common but for the first time, I felt it had been rubbed in the face of every African-American. Also in light of several instances of police brutality, some fatal, Black America has had enough. Now a couple weeks later, we learned that the Officer that killed Eric Garner by chokehold (Which was ruled a homicide by the coroner) will not face charges as well. The slogan “Black Lives Matter” became our new rallying cry and peaceful protests manifested all over the world.
God given clarity.
I went to church with current events still causing moments of concern. Peace was not coming to me at all. Bishop Corletta Vaughn made Black Lives Matter part of her sermon for the day. During her message, she said something that shook loose my thoughts “What if Michael Brown had got out of the street like Officer Wilson asked him to do at first?”. Yes, I forgot about that nugget of information and things became clear. We obviously have racist policies regarding African-Americans and law enforcement. What we need to do is take ourselves out of the equation by simply obeying and respecting the law. We have to walk that uncomfortable fine line. If black lives truly matter to us, we have to live it. We have to be better mentors, parents, and leaders. Teaching our young people to respect the law and each other must become paramount! A lot is riding on this. When the police pulls us or our young people over, we have to be spotless. This will make their racism more blatant. Right now, each case has a probable cause element to it. That has to be removed in order to make our accusations stick. There has to be some accountability to go along with our protests. Who knows, we may even turn around some bad seeds in our own community in the progress
Law enforcement has a taste for blood.
Our protests have been heard and met with opposition. Professional athletes have worn the “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts and took the playing fields with their hands up in support of the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. In each city, law enforcement has called these actions disrespectful to police officers. I was taken aback by this! Protecting and serving is no longer the motto. Execution and death during apprehension is totally accepted whereas rouge cops where once punished for it, In 1992, Officers Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn were charged and convicted of second degree murder in the beating death of Malice Green. Today they would have gone free. Now, 2 NYPD officers have been ambushed and killed. The police chief wants “Wartime” Status. It appears the NYPD wants their way or else! We will give them the “Or Else” option. However, it will be peacefully in the spirit of Martin Luther King with the intensity of Malcolm X and our minds on the future. Holla if you hear me!
– K. Greene