Note: Within just an hour or two of posting this blog on July 6 in the wee hours of the night, the nation learned about another fatal incident involving police and a Black male: Philando Castile. The number is now 123 Black men shot dead by police. Within hours.
By Zerline Hughes
More tears today. I’d love to blame it on my Cancerian-moon roots. Heck, my birthday is in less than 48 hours and I can cry if I want to. But, the blame – once again – goes to our INjustice system. My son is downstairs safe at home with me this time, but my partner is not home safe; he’s en route to work. Apparently, there’s a great chance he won’t come back. That’s based on today’s new stat that 122 Black men have been killed by a cop this year. That Fusion statistic was preceded by the murder of Alton Sterling who was killed Tuesday by Baton Rouge, Louisiana police.
Wait: this year? 122 Black men? There’s only been 187 days in 2016. What?
We know but a few of those 122 Black men. Their names are preceded by hashtags on Twitter, on T-shirts, and they’re mentioned in advocacy reports calling for reform. If one of the two Black men in my household became a hashtag – and not because of their fame, good deeds and continuing successes – I would lose it. Especially considering how frantic I am right now about 122 men I don’t even know.
I would be no good to anyone. I’m telling you now, I would not be that poster child mom touring the U.S. talking about reform, holding a picture of my slain family member. I would opt out of participating in the media circuit, standing alongside Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. or whoever else now represents Black folk.
Instead, I would be in a dimly lit corner – much like I am right now – crying. Dropping my head back to hold in the tears. I’d be wondering ‘how did we get to where we are now?”
I often pontificate in this blog about what it takes to raise “at risk,” “single-parented” Black kids in the “inner city.” I talk about breaking my ass to get them from place to place. I brag about all their accolades and successes. I complain about the challenges they run into and how we press on despite it all. But, really, there’s not a damn thing I can do to ensure that they grow up and live a happy life. It seems as if my prayers won’t even save them.
Is Freddie Gray gone because his parents didn’t pray? Is Eric Garner no longer breathing because his wife didn’t have enough faith? Is Tamir Rice dead because his mom didn’t schlep him 30 miles to school and then another 40 miles to after school enrichment every day?
There’s no answer. It’s Russian roulette out here and I don’t think I can take it much longer.
I have no pithy quips, stats and resources for this Not These two blog post. I have no energy for it. I’m just ready to make it end. The police brutality. The rogue attitudes within our justice system. The disparities that our Black and Brown people face. The disregard for human life.
The way to end this is not with a hashtag, blog or meme. The way to end this is not with another candlelight vigil, National Mall protest or, dare I say it, a town hall panel discussion.
It’s time to go back to the good old days: boycotting. I know it’s a lot and we’re so reliant on every corporation within every industry. Before, a simple bus boycott made all the difference. But now that we live 40 miles away from where we work, deciding not to hop on the commuter train, subway or bus, isn’t feasible, right? Because we’re reliant upon communicating 24-7, we can’t stop paying our Sprint or Verizon bill, hunh? But whatever we do to address this national disaster, it’s got to be financially motivated. That’s the only thing people, policymakers listen to. It’s not pain. It’s not loss of life. It’s money. We must each ask ourselves “what am I willing to do to make this stop?” and then work collectively.
In the meantime, I guess we’ll continue hashtagging, gofundme-ing, and wait till the next casualty. And I’ll continue to cry and overprotect my family as much as I can.
#RIPAltonSterling … and everybody else