If you live on earth, you know this week was a tense heavy one. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, protests were organized in all 50 states in America and in many cities across the world. As Martin Luther King said, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. It was beautiful to see the world come together in unity against a common enemy.
At the same time, issues of rape against women were amplified in Nigeria. A 22-year-old girl was raped and murdered and then a 12-year-old girl was serially raped by 11 men. To say that this is disheartening is a gross understatement. I have been so upset, hurt, disappointed, and afraid as a Black Woman.
While rape and racism have been at the forefront this week, they are certainly not new issues and so some people have developed an apathy and numbness to them. Over the past decade of living in North America, there have been more than a dozen hashtags of black men brutally murdered by police; and those are just the ones that got caught on camera and eventually made it online.
You see, when a global pandemic that has locked down cities and nations becomes a non-issue and people leave the comfort of their homes to protest in proximity with hundred others, it is clear that they have had enough. Racism is a virus that has eaten deep and is hurting non-white communities especially Black Men and Women. To be honest, this protest was long overdue. It was about time we stood up to racism and the systems that have enabled it to grow unchallenged in America and beyond.
Interestingly, even though it seemed like Floyd’s murder was the one that pushed the world over the edge, and awakened a desire for change in many people, a large chunk of people have become non-believers of change because it is pretty much rinse repeat at this point.
Murder, Hashtag, Online Protest…..
Murder, Hashtag, ….. you get the gist
For some reason though, I really believe that this time, it is more than a hashtag. I believe real change is coming. However, I can sympathize with those who have become desensitized to the injustice because they feel discouraged, depressed, or defeated. Perhaps, they have seen this cycle repeat itself one too many times and have decided to play the peace-loving, law-abiding Black Man or Woman who never has to have a run-in with the police. These same people will raise their Black sons and daughters not just to respect the police but to fear them.
They have created what they believe to be a survival tactic that makes them worthy of living if and when they encounter the police. But I can assure you this is no way to live. Nevertheless, I sympathize with numbness.
What I have no tolerance for though, are some other statements people have made over the past week.
- I cannot do anything.
Doing nothing is almost as bad as being an oppressor. Staying neutral during oppression and injustice is dangerous because if the light does not shine, darkness will naturally dominate. Now, what does it mean to do something? You do not HAVE to post online if you do not want to, and you must not go to a protest, but you can create awareness through other means, or you can contribute monetarily. That way, even though you might not be physically doing anything, you can empower dedicated organizations to do more.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- It will still happen again. Blacks and Whites are not equal.
This is one of the worst things you can say as a Black Man or Woman. Imagine what the world would have been like for you if MLK or Nelson Mandela resolved to do nothing. Perhaps today, you would have been walking long miles because you were not worthy of sitting on the bus or even worse, you could have remained educated because you were not eligible to attend the same college as whites due to the color of your skin.
They fought and we gained freedom that moved us further from where we were. It remains our duty to our children and their children to move the goal post even further and hand over the baton when our time is done. Besides, who cares if it changes in our time? We fight today so that our children will not fight and that they can have a better.
Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children.
- I am a Christian.
As Christians, we are called to Peace and Love but at the same time we ought to stand against injustice and be a voice to the oppressed.
Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good: seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
Psalms 82:3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
I understand that some of the protests have been violent or people have taken the opportunity to loot and accomplish their selfish desires but that should not hinder us from peacefully advocating for the rights of those who are at a disadvantage in our society. As I said earlier, there are multiple ways to defend the rights of the afflicted. If you are too uncomfortable with publicly doing something, go ahead and open your purse. Make a silent donation. I promise you will be making a world of difference.
To conclude, injustice is an everybody problem. Challenge yourself, friends, affiliate organizations and family members to do more.
I have learnt that courage is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to act regardless and not let the fear cripple you. Sometimes, all you need to do is take the first step.
As a Black person, remember that you are black anywhere and that is a fact that cannot change. Today, it is Floyd and tomorrow, it could be you.
If you are a member of another minority group, stand in solidarity because many of these issues affect you as well.
If you are white, use your privilege to speak up against injustice. If you choose to stay silent and enjoy the benefits of a system that has been designed to favor you, then you are no better than the active oppressors.