I have a strong passion for struggling against injustice. And today it’s difficult to celebrate the near-end of my challenge and upcoming holiday when my mind is focused on the injustice in the Michael Brown shooting case, and all the other instances of people of color being hurt by the police officers sworn to protect them, or the justice system that claims to defend and represent us all – though we know better. I don’t experience the same level of outrage at these unpunished crimes as others – as those of us who have studied injustice have seen it time and time again – Michael Brown, Marissa Alexander, Oscar Grant, Aiyana Stanley-Jones (who was 7 years old), Amadou Diallo, Jonathon Ferrell (who was running to police for help after being in a car accident), Roy Middleton, Armand Bennet, Ezell Ford, John Crawford, Jeremy Lake, Sean Bell (who was driving home from his bachelor party and scheduled to get married the next day), Eric Garner, Douglas Zerby, just to name a few. And if you want to pick apart each case to find the justification, then you’re missing the point, which is that America has a serious problem of unjustified police violence against people of color. This blog is not necessarily a place to unpack all of that, but these conversations are too important to be reserved for college classrooms and town squares. So today, here are the things that I am grateful for:
- I am grateful for my education, in particular the professors and classmates that taught me about these issues and let me fumble through my own understanding of them.
- I am grateful for my own safety, because regardless of what and who I am, I am perceived as non-threatening by the police and other anxious people with guns and tasers.
- I am grateful for the activists who fight in a variety of ways for civil rights, for justice – counselors who work at the individual level, teachers and organizers who impact their communities, advocates and lobbyists that change policy, and artists that tell the stories.
- I am grateful for the rightfully angry members of the Ferguson community. Though the riots may be violent and unproductive, they are a raw display of the chaos and frustration that millions of American citizens live in day to day.
- I am grateful for independent news sources like Democracy Now that provide coverage that would fundamentally change the conversation about race in the US if more folks would tune in.
- And I am still grateful for the Whole 30, for my YMCA, and for my ability to control my diet because health disparities kill more people of color than police do – and if we could wake up to the way sugar and McDonald’s are used to control poor populations, we’d have a community pumping full of tiger blood ready to rise up.
Makibaka huwag matakot!