Living While Black (LWB): My Personal Struggle With The Unending Terrorism Of Police Violence In America

06/24/2017 11:53 pm ET Updated Jun 26, 2017

We share a strength of mind and spirit that defies centuries of efforts to break us.

So, I know: We are resilient.

But today, I am angry and troubled and, I am wanting to lash out.

  • I am angry at a government that allows my people to be hunted and killed by rabid police officers.

  • I am troubled by the structure that allows two white men who killed prison guards to live, but deems it justifiable to kill a black child playing with a toy gun.

  • I lash out at a system that thinks it’s okay to let guilty officers go free because they speak the five magic, get out of jail free words: “I feared for my life.”

I am Trayvon Martin wondering why this strange man is following me.

I am Eric Garner gasping for air.

I am Sandra Bland proclaiming my rights.

I am Philando Castile sitting in the car with my 4 year-old daughter.

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We are the descendants of those who endured the middle passage, despite being caged like animals and treated in the most inhumane of ways by the most evil of people.

So, I know: We are survivors.

But today, I am incensed and agitated and, I am yearning to fight.

  • I am incensed by the sadistic notion that our brown skin makes us less deserving and less vital, and less human even, than one with white skin.

  • I am agitated by the pattern of contradictions in denying responsibility for killing, but subsequently offering monetary settlements to the families of those killed.

  • I fight against a justice system which deems it acceptable to bring Burger King to a white man after he has killed nine black people in a church, but shoot a black man dead as he reaches for his Driver’s License.

I am Jonathan Ferrell seeking assistance after my car accident.

I am Alton Sterling selling music videos.

I am Michael Brown, Jr. holding up my hands in surrender.

I am Walter L. Scott being stopped for a broken brake light.

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We have lived through slavery that saw us whipped and beaten and sold, only to become educators and attorneys and doctors and world leaders.

So, I know: We are heroic.

But today, I am confused and hurting, and I am needing to cry out.

  • I am confused by white “Christians” who heartlessly choose to ignore the blatant immorality of a system that targets my people for subjugation, demonization, and extermination.

  • I am hurting because we have endured so much, we have endured more than enough, and yet, we cannot afford to rest or let our guards down.

  • I cry out, “Leave us alone!” “Let my brothers live!” “Let my sisters be!”. But the enemy, he is forever on our heels, and I doubt he will heed my agonized plea.

I am Laquan McDonald remaining face down on the cold pavement.

I am Freddie Gray being forced into the back of a van for a “rough ride”.

I am Keith Lamont Scott exiting my car.

I am Edward Lamont Hunt staring at an officer.

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We persisted through Jim Crow, and we fought and died for rights to have equal access to education, sit at the front of the bus, drink from the water fountain and yes, vote.

So, I know: We will not be broken.

But today, I am outraged and anxious, and I am choosing to confront the wickedness.

  • I am outraged that black men and women in America are still not free, and can be killed by officers of the government for walking, or running, or driving, or breathing, or … simply living while black.

  • I am anxious for our children and grandchildren, whose ancestors paid the ultimate price for certain freedoms their offspring are still unable to enjoy.

  • I confront the wickedness of a nation’s legalized inhumanity and reprobate treatment of its own citizens.

I am Jordan Edwards riding in a car after a party.

I am Samuel DuBose driving with a missing front license plate.

I am Tamir Rice playing with my toy gun in a park.

I am Akai Gurley walking in a stairwell.

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I am angry and troubled and incensed and agitated and confused and hurting and outraged and anxious. So, I use my words to lash out, and fight back, and cry out, and confront.

I refuse to be broken, because as Albert Camus said: “Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.”

I am Chavis Carter sitting handcuffed in the back seat of a patrol car.

I am Marlon Brown being run down by a police cruiser.

I am Sean Bell leaving my bachelor party the eve before my wedding.

I am Kathryn Johnston sitting in my home watching television.

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I will not yield to the terror, because I know Emiliano Zapata was right in saying: “It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees.”

I am Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin, unarmed and sleeping in a parked car.

I am Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, unarmed and watching an officer stand on the hood of our car and shoot through the windshield to kill us.

I am Amadou Diallo, unarmed and standing in a New York City doorway.

I am Oscar J. Grant, III, unarmed and lying face down on the ground.

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I must resist, because as Paul Robeson said: “… do not hesitate one second to state clearly and unmistakably: I belong to the American resistance movement which fights against American [terrorism], just as the resistance movement fought against Hitler.”

I am Tanisha Anderson dying while in physical restraints.

I am Jerame Reid dying while trying to raise my hands higher.

I am Ronald Singleton dying while being in a “protective body wrap”.

I am Eric Harris dying while lying on my stomach.

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But I do not fear death, because as Frederick Douglass said, “I would rather die free than live as a slave [to America’s terrorism].

  • I am EACH of the innocent black boys, girls, men and women who have been killed by Slave Patrols and Police Officers in America since the beginning of our capture.

  • I am EACH of the heartbroken loved ones of those who have been terrorized and killed by police violence, only to be given “STFU” money as recompense for my loved one’s life.

  • I am a daughter of the strongest of the strongest who withstood powerful aggressions to usurp their dignity and undermine their humanity.

  • I am a descendant of the most determined who remained steadfast and persevered.

  • I am the progeny of courageous, resolute and tenacious ancestors who did not let the cruelty of a nation’s policies, practices and proclivities to oppress defeat their fortitude.

Because my people have long traveled this road, I will stay the journey and hold my head high: Living While Black (LWB).

#Nevergivein #Nevergiveup #Livewhileblack #Resist #crimesagainsthumanity

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