Seriously. I couldn't even come up with a title for this post other than Charleston. In fact, it is enough.
In the middle of June, on a hot evening, during bible study at Emanuel AME Church, honorably and respectfully known as Mother Emanuel, the oldest Black church in the south, a seemingly uncommon tragedy happened. As I see it, a hatefully inluenced fool not only walked in, but sat there for an hour before he killed nine church goers, including the pastor. News of the tragic murders flashed across my news screen as I was getting in bed for the night. Needless to say that night was unrestful, not just for me, but for many across the country, for the members of Mother Emanuel and even more so to the core for the families of the victims that lost their lives that night.
When I finally saw their faces and heard their names, I just kept staring. Their eyes looked like they could have been my mother's, my grandmother's, sister's, uncle's, cousin's or friend's eyes. Their names sounded like family.
Nine victims of the Charleston church shooting.
Top row: Cynthia Hurd (54), Rev. Clementa Pinckney (41), Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45)
Middle row: Daniel Simmons Sr. (74), Rev. Depayne Middleton Doctor (49), Tywanza Sanders (26)
Bottom row: Myra Thompson (59), Ethel Lee Lance (70), Susie Jackson (87). Photo Credit
The reason why their lives were taken? Because this boy (whose name WILL NOT be mentioned here EVER) somehow felt that he wanted to start a race war. He did it because people of color, those of us who do not look like him and his view of supremacy, are undoubtedly and repeatedly targets for brutality and injustice. Was he successful? Something is brewing for sure. From the confederate flag debate and government called removal, to marches and rallies, to the burning of Black churches to the Ku Klux Klan recruiting campaigns to nasty racist vandalism and whatever else that HAS NOT been reported. Whether it be war or not, it has definitely started something.
I am no longer sad, but mad. Mad that the value of human life continues to dwindle in the eyes of some; actually in the eyes of many. This God awful tragedy didn't just happen to Charleston, this happened to us ALL. The events that follow will not just affect the Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston county communities, it will or should cause a stirring in every county and community across this country. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Well stated Dr. King. When one is hurt, we all hurt.
I can’t even lie and say I’m in a state of disbelief regarding the trageDIES that have taken place in this nation. I FULLY believe it and am not shocked. NOT. ONE. BIT. I feel as though I am living in the days that my Grandmother talked about her growing up in. Days filled with overt hatred for the color your skin. Days of fighting and proving that your life matters. We are still in that place.
So what now? And I really feel like we've been here before asking this same question and I foresee that we'll be here again. Stategic planning is good, however we should stop having discussions ONLY about what we are going to do, but ACT upon what it is that we HAVE to do.
Granted, I can't tell you what to do. You CAN do whatever it is you like.
You CAN...But consider choosing NOT to allow whatever the latest social media trend to take us off the agenda at hand. Changing our profile picture for a day is nice but let us not FORGET what else is going on in the world. Trends will fade, while social issues will still exist.
You CAN...But consider choosing NOT to allow the comfort and safe space of prayer ALONE to take us off the agenda at hand. Don’t STOP praying but let us add something to that. Faith without WORKS is dead.
You CAN... But consider choosing NOT to allow sensationalism to sway our minds to left or the right to take us off the agenda at hand. Listening to a spun agenda is not wise. We can use it to spark an urgency to educate ourselves.
No, I don’t have all the answers, but the one answer that I do have is that those of who have been quiet, shouldn't continue to handle business as usual. This includes myself. I MUST do better. I MUST do my part. I MUST not keep silent, but use my EXPRESSIVE VOICE to make a difference and to ignite change.
My voice is MY vehicle. Organizing, rallying or researching may be yours. Whatever it is that YOU DO, don’t allow it to die down, die out or become expired. Keep pushing, keep pressing, stay positive and stay productive. It’s a challenging task, yes, but I believe we can do it.
How good it is when we dwell together in unity. We are stronger in numbers. Not just one race of people. I am speaking to ALL who will stand for what is RIGHTEOUS and JUST for EVERYONE.
Will you join me? It’s a simple question. I’m willing to work.