To Whom It May Concern,
Hope all is well. I’m sure you’ve seen the news lately. It turns out there is bit of trouble within the black community pertaining to our relationship with police officers and their tendency to not be held accountable when they break the laws they swore to protect. As your fellow citizens, the black community has contributed a lot to American society whether it be in the form of inventions you use in our everyday life to genres of music (there was also that period of about 300 years where we were a huge help), and over the last half century or so we have even been able to become friends. Well friend, it turns out this police issue is really getting out of hand (and by out of hand I mean were at the point where we consider it a win just to see an officer who killed a black man even get indicted). See now I know you may think that this problem has nothing to do with you but I am here to convince you otherwise.
This is not a black issue. This is a human rights issue. Fred Hampton once said we cannot fight fire with fire, we believe in fighting fire with water. We can not fight racism with racism, we must fight racism with solidarity.” Now is the time to stand in solidarity with your black brothers and sisters and let it be known that you are not on the sideline watching people that look like them be oppressed simply for the fact that they look like them. Black skin is what connects me to Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, and Alton Sterling and it just so happens that seeing that black skin is all their shooters needed for proof that their target deserved to die. So because of my black skin it could be me next, or perhaps my brother, or your best friend, or your neighbor. Before that injustice occurs, let your voice be heard. Stand with your black brothers and sisters and let them know that you understand that there is a system at work here that oppresses them and you will not stand for it.
This is not a time for division. This is, in fact, a perfect opportunity for unity. I spoke to a woman today that said, “Just because I don’t post on social media doesn’t mean that I don’t care”. Very true. However, it does help the psyche of the black man or woman to be on social media (a place we all spend too much time nowadays) and see that our fellow citizens stand with us. I’m sure the LGBTQ community appreciated our changed profile pictures and posts when their community faced a horrible tragedy weeks ago. In a world where we rarely have open and honest discussions about our social climate random acts of hate toward members of your community can make you think “Wait, do more people think like this? Do people think this is ok?” Now I’m sure, especially if you are a white Christian male then you have no idea what I’m talking about, as people that look like you or think like you do are rarely the targets of random acts of hatred. But from those of us that are apart of these communities (especially black) these acts, especially as frequent and spread throughout this country as these killings at the hands of police has been, things can get pretty scary as you truly do not know when or if you will be next or if you’re neighbor will even care. It’s quite the stressful life to live. The famous quote from Desmond Tutu goes “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
A Black Man Who May Be Next
I leave you with a poem by one of my late heroes, the Late Great Dr. Maya Angelou
I don’t ask the Foreign Legion
Or anyone to win my freedom
Or to fight my battle better than I can,
Though there’s one thing that I cry for
I believe enough to die for
That is every man’s responsibility to man.
I’m afraid they’ll have to prove first
That they’ll watch the Black man move first
Then follow him with faith to kingdom come.
This rocky road is not paved for us,
So, I’ll believe in Liberals’ aid for us
When I see a white man load a Black man’s gun.
-Dr. Maya Angelou