PA’s personal thoughts on Summer 2016:
It used to be that violence held a 30 second segment on the evening news. Today, we are plagued with instances of violence everywhere we turn. Social media has made it possible for random and not so random acts to be streamed worldwide for anyone to see. We are becoming so desensitized that we allow our youth to see and witness unfathomable things far before their minds are ready. Black men are killing each other at nauseating rates. Children, cops, mothers, fathers and even grandparents are being taken away from their loved ones far before their time. I don’t know when hatred, negativity, violence and disregard for the human race became so acceptable, but this cannot continue to be the societal norm. Something has to change. People have to change.
LB’s personal thoughts on Summer 2016:
Alton Sterling and Philando Castile..their execution by the police sent shock waves through my system, and left a dull sickening pain in the pit of my stomach. I watched as Philando took his last breath with a gun pointed at his face and his girlfriend recorded it to stream on Facebook. His eyes rolled into the back of his head and his shirt stained with dark red blood. His girlfriend calmly pleaded with the police officer as her four-year- old daughter sat in the backseat. The girlfriend talked in a calm tone towards the police, asking him for help as Philando slipped away. She kept her hands on the steering wheel as instructed, and continually referred to the officer holding the gun as “Sir”. Isn’t it something to behold how well trained some black people are towards white people? Even in the face of death, she gave deference. Philando and his girl were pulled over for having a broken taillight. The taillight wasn’t actually broken and Philando had been stopped while driving black about 52 times.
Alton Sterling was selling cigarettes in front of a corner store and the police threw him to the ground, placed their knees on him and shot him in the chest after saying he was reaching for a gun. Alton’s hands were pinned down. He couldn’t reach his pockets. Philando had a license to carry, and told the police, but they killed him anyway.
Charles Kinsey, a behavior therapist was shot while lying on the ground with his hands in the air next to an autistic man. The police claimed they were aiming for the autistic man with the toy in his hand. I went to work and kept a blank look on my face.
I spoke to no one about the events because I was at work. You must keep your mask on at work. The Dallas police shooting happened and I heard a white man at work talk about it over the phone, but nobody speaks of the carnage in our communities. It also made me angry at how silent we are when a whole cookout is shot up, or children are murdered while they are sleeping in our neighborhoods. When will we figure out that we must value and honor each other in order to make a difference in the world? As much as I hear the angst and anger over these injustices, I also seek to put my community on the stand and charge us with not being our brother’s keeper in the first place. I can’t march on Sunday against police brutality, but remain quiet about the the drive-by shootings or the domestic violence in our communities. When is it okay to snitch? We pick and choose when to be outraged, and that’s the problem. Nothing will change if we don’t examine and address our own trauma. Yes, it is connected, and frankly I don’t care who disagrees. Shame on us for not addressing the massacres we inflict on one another, while demanding justice at the same time. I have to be even with my assessment on the threats we have from the law, and the real threats we are to each other. Fighting an internal and external war won’t work. It will keep us spinning around with no aim or direction. What can you do to stop the cycle of violence? How can you change as an individual? If we understand we are stronger together than apart, we can move forward like an army ready to battle on a united front against a common cause. This is systematic and we must be strategic in how we move. Until we do, enemies will continue to infiltrate and keep us off balanced like the Tower of Babylon.