August 12th, 2017 – The fight isn’t over yet

When I was young, I learned about racism in school.
I learned about it in history, and not in current affairs.
I had a teacher who told us about marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,
and she was as proud to say that as any pride I had ever witnessed.
By the time I learned about Dr. King, he had been dead for twenty years.
April of 1968 and the fight wasn’t over.
I thought racism was over, I thought it had been won.
Around that time, on the other side of the country,
it was waging and burning on, and I knew nothing about it,
that was in April of 1992, but I learned about it years later
…as history.
April of 1992 and the fight wasn’t over.

Evenutally, I began to learn about racism, about racist violence as it occurred.
People like Travon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and too many names to keep track of died, and within days I would hear about them.
But the racial impact wasn’t accepted by many,
there are arguments about ‘deserving’ their executions.
Even when faced with the death of 12 year old Tamir Rice, I see resistance.
November of 2014 and the fight wasn’t over.

Yesterday was August 12, 2017.
Slavery ended almost 152 years ago,
Emmett Till’s death started the Civil Rights movement 62 years ago this month,
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death was 49 years ago,
the LA Riots were 25 years ago,
Over the last five years we have seen countless unarmed black people killed,
and yesterday we saw white supremacy in every form (that I’m aware of) proudly announce they would not hide anymore.
The fight isn’t over.

It is important for everyone, to continue to stand up, and be heard against this evil—and I do not think there is another word for it.
But it is not just important for those who have to fight, those whom the fight comes to,
it’s important for people like me, for those of us who can avoid it if we want, to stand with those who cannot avoid it.

We do not have superior genes, or complexions,
we are not superior people,
but we have superior luck, or fortune, or whatever word you prefer
and as such we have a responsibility.
Trying to survive, trying to thrive, these are things that we take as ‘givens’
but choosing to do what is right, choosing to stand on the right side,
when it is avoidable, is equally important.

I don’t kid myself that this fight will be over in my life time,
but that doesn’t mean I get to sit on the sidelines and not participate.
I think there is a much larger percentage of the other side who are sitting it out,
but I think there must be more of us than there are of them, and our voices can drown theirs out, or perhaps even better, our voices can amplify so loudly together that perhaps they will not only hear us, but listen.