Today would have been Breonna Taylor's 27th birthday. It seems appropriate then, to state unequivocally my support for BLM and the protesters nation wide in the wake of George Floyd's murder at the hands of Minneapolis PD. My support has been from the sidelines; nursing a twisted ankle and a case of bronchitis makes me a liability -- and while my ego would like for me to be out there, now is not the time for ego. Especially mine.
Activism, on any level, is challenging and dangerous work. Our country has has a history of
- Dakota Pipeline activists
- Leonard Peltier.
- Medgar Evers
- Carl Braden
- Cripple Creek miners (the first ever instance of the military firing on American citizens with a Gatling Gun.
- Eugene V. Debs.
- Joe Hill.
- Albert and Lucy Parsons.
Another list that's also incredibly long... too long to list here... is the number Black men, women , and children murdered by systemic racism. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Dave McAtee are just the most recent.
I rarely call out a specific audience in my posts, but in this case I believe it's necessary. I have no interest in trying to explain the context of the protests to the victims of systemic racism. So this is for everyone else: the ones who don't understand. The ones whose face is like my face and hasn't had to worry about being Murdered While Black.
You don't have to embrace the Democratic Party to support the protests. You don't have to change your religious beliefs. You don't have give up calling for peaceful resolutions; but you do need to identify your biases. You do need to understand: this isn't about you. Check your ego. Demand transparency from all government officials. Demand that Free Speech not be penalized because it calls out truth to power. Demand that police brutality and murder by cop be treated like the crimes they are.
During the pandemic (Remember the pandemic?) we were treated to scared white men with guns trying to bully the government because they believed in acceptable losses to "re-start" the economy (that didn't really stop). Freedom for them means sacrificing others.
The activists in the streets who endure red pepper bombs and rubber bullets, who get blamed for the violence perpetrated by police, by opportunists, and by provocateurs, are defining freedom through personal sacrifice. Their bodies are their ballots.
Like me, you may have good reasons not to be out there. But there are other ways to offer support. Remember: it's not about us.