All Summer16

The Summer of 2016 started off with a bang in more ways than one.

April left us reeling from the death of Prince. And, the May offered no condolences, dealing blow after blow, in no particular order but each one equally horrendous:

A shooter killed more than 40 people and injured even more at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

(http://www.npr.org/2016/06/16/482322488/orlando-shooting-what-happened-update)

Actor and activist Jesse Williams gave a riveting speech at the BET awards that was so relevant, it prompted some to petition for him to be fired from his job on the hit TV Drama Grey’s Anatomy.

(https://www.change.org/p/boycott-abc-network-and-sign-petition-to-fire-jesse-williams-from-grey-s-anatomy-for-racist-rant)

The nation learned that the #FreddieGray trials were resulting in no convictions against the law enforcement officers that were involved in his arrest; the arrest that resulted in his death which was subsequently ruled a homicide. The lack of convictions was just the continuation of many shocking results of the matter as the remaining charges were dropped against the other officers who where involved.

(http://www.blackreport.com/archives/2016/07/27/remaining-charges-dropped-against-police-officers-in-freddie-gray-case/)

The bones of the #SandraBland case continue to fall from the closet after her death was ruled a suicide last year. Officer Michael Kelley has recently admitted that he was warned not to speak out about some very important facts regarding Sandra Bland’s case. He also revealed that his career was threatened and was told that he would face repercussions if he spoke to Bland’s family attorney.

(http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-officer-in-sandra-bland-case-20160729-story.html)

We also learned–that police officer Eric Casebolt of McKinney Texas would not face assault charges for his behavior towards a 15 year old teen at a pool party in June of 2015. Officer Eric Casebolt was recorded behaving recklessly while responding to a disturbance at the pool party. He is seen waving his weapon around at the crowd of people and then slamming a black teenager to the ground while subduing her with his knee in her back under his body weight.

(http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2016/06/grand-jury-declines-to-indict-ex-cop-involved-in-mckinney-pool-party.html/)

During a protest in response to the continued racial tensions and police brutality across the nation in Dallas, Texas, a man opened fire on police officers killing 5 and wounding others, including a protester. A brief standoff ensued however it was quickly ended when the suspect was disarmed and killed by an explosive detonation by Dallas SWAT. The media was intent on blaming the outcome of the protest on the #BlackLivesMatter movement while ignoring the very reason someone saw fit that such a movement needed to take place.

(http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/dallas-county/breaking-shots-fired-and-officers-down-at-downtown-dallas-protest/266881573)

As a Dallas native I can say this was very much so a sad, horrific, and tense time. My twitter feed was on fire, the text messages wouldn’t stop coming, and my spirit was on the ropes.

Trying not to give in to my emotions, I left for work the following morning with an intent to maintain a silent protest in hopes that I would be able to get through the day with my office door closed while never speaking a word of the incident to my coworkers. I wanted to just close off and lament the catalyst that started it all: the unresponsiveness of State and Federal Government in cases involving blatant police brutality, racism, and racial profiling. Not to mention the casual feigns of ignorance when it comes to identifying #whiteprivledge

No less than 30 days after the shooting involving Dallas Police officers, two black men #AltonSterling and #PhilandoCastilewere were shot and killed (roughly 24 hours apart) by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and St Anthony, Minnesota.

(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/07/06/alton-sterlings-death-appears-to-be-another-police-shooting-that-was-both-legal-and-preventable/)

(http://www.democracynow.org/2016/7/7/you_shot_four_bullets_into_him)

Needless to say, the pattern is more than obvious but the powers that be seem to be blind and deaf. As both are being argued as legal, justified, as well as preventable.

To make an already outrageous and genocide-eque situation worse, another black man, Charles Kinsley was shot by police in Florida while unarmed, with his hands up.

(http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/07/black-fla-therapist-who-was-shot-by-police-reunited-with-autistic-patient/)

For my entire life, as long as I can remember, Black People have been fighting to receive equality of the most basic means and this struggle has only gotten more intense, more severe, more life threatening, more bloody, and has encouraged groups on either side to rise up their bands to do something about it.

The Black Community has responded with strategic action plans that have gotten the attention of celebrities and professional athletes and resulted in thousands of groups forming to promote and influence change in their communities.

Social media has been flooded with black posters sharing their ideas on resolving the issues and affecting change. There have even been suggestions of boycotts, all black market co-operatives, legal action committees, protests against specific businesses and politicians, and well as the encouragement of more black to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms to protect themselves and their homes.

To paraphrase a quote by one of my favorite singers, Sam Cooke. A Chang Has Come…

 

 

 

 

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My 3 Most Important Songs

The first song I thought of with this writing assignment was Zoom by the Commodores. This was a favorite of my mother’s. She loved this song. When I first heard it I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I wrote it off as one of the many oldies that I’d like. One day I watched her sing along to the lyrics of this song. She closed her eyes, swayed, and sang along like she felt every word.

This song spoke to me about the personal need for Freedom. It speaks of admitting one’s struggles and desiring to be free from so many weighty things. It speaks rebirth and rejuvenation. Did I already say Freedom? Freedom is so interjectional. It can mean so many different things to so many people in so many ways. Zoom is to Freedom as Shakespeare is to Poetry.

Next in the running is “So Good” by Destiny’s Child (the originals) I had just graduated from high school when the first Destiny’s Child album was released. Destiny’s Child was regarded to be one of the best girl groups since TLC. They were an inspiration to all young girls that wanted to be in “showbiz”. The song “So Good” was the ultimate nose thumb to everyone that doubted their success. It was a response to every hater and negative comment made. It was a pride song. Do you wanna know how Im doing? Im doing SO GOOD!

Some of us have faced harsh criticism for doing the things we want to do with our lives. Some people are so unhappy with themselves, they can’t be happy for anyone else. They can’t be supportive and they will sabotage you if they are given the chance.
I thought about how often people had denied me. How hard it had been to get just through high school graduation. I watched many of my peers excel in so many different areas and at so many different things. I wanted those experiences too. I didn’t know how to get them but I managed to do the best that I could. But when you look around that the people standing on the sidelines of your race in life, some may be cheering, some maybe glaring and secretly hoping for your downfall. Some will flat out tell you that you will never win! To those people I say:

Wasn’t it you that said
Thought I was all that and you said I didn’t have a clue
Wasn’t it you that said
That I wouldn’t make it through
And wasn’t it you that said
That I didn’t look too good, that I wouldn’t do too good
I’d never make it out the ‘hood
I want you to know that I’m doin’ so good

The final of the 3 but not in the least is the Black National Athem. Life Every Voice and Sing. This song started as a poem by James Weldon Johnson and was later converted into a song by his brother. Im told that this song was made vocally famous by Melba Moore and several other vocalists in 1990. Im not sure how it became known as the Black National Anthem but in 5th Grade I learned this song backward and forward thanks to Ms. Whitely and Ms Hampton. They were two teachers at my elementary school. They made a very big to-do of Black History Month and this was one of our performances during the festivities. This song resonated so sweetly the stories that my parents told me about their growing up in the south and how by 1981 when I was born things had changed greatly. My favorite part of the song is when the tenors kick in with the lyric “Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,” I don’t know why but this was my favorite part of the song. I fell growth every time I hear it. It says that we are moving forward to the future and we are recovering from our dark past. To illustrate and verbalize this movement, we (the black people) have our own song. And that’s not to say that it cannot belong to anyone of any race or nationality but its something to call our own. Its our stake on America. Its our contribution.