WE DO MATTER
In what has been touted at another horrendous weekend of violence in Chicago there’s much to be said about last week. Black folks were riding high doing wonderful things making a difference in the lives of other Black folks and the world because I know that when Black folks are well and are doing well, we contribute such a huge energy force in the universe that impacts the world. If you don’t know that, then all the more reason we must become once more enlightened.
So listen, while six people were killed and eight others wounded the Historic Black Colleges and Universities, The Chicago Football Classic, The National Congress of Black Women, Metro Chicago Chapter were out and about the business of recruiting, raising money, marketing and promoting their programs, awarding and receiving scholarships. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There were fathers playing ball with their sons, mothers combing their daughters’ hair, grandmothers baking cookies, sisters laughing together, Students studying, families playing games together and simply being together.
My point? Where was the news about that?
The news flashed about the flurry of gun violence in Chicago steady rising bringing it to a 21% surge in homicides and a 20% increase in non-fatal shooting incidents so far in 2015. It just makes you want to holler. Deputy Chief Eugene Roy told reporters that gunfire was the cause of death for two women (mother and daughter) and wounded three others including an 11-month old baby boy as they returned from a family outing around 7:15 PM. The pregnant 24-year-old Patricia Chew and her 46-year-old mother Lolita Wells were the mother and grandmother respectfully of the 11-month-old boy.
As Chief Roy stated so poignantly, “In a second, two generations of that child’s family were wiped out. The other two victims were men, both 25 who suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Almost five hours alter and less than three miles away, another woman and two men were murdered, while two others were wounded on the South Side. The shooting happened near a playground when the reported two gunmen opened fire from a nearby alley. The 22-year old Ayanna Northern was shot in the chest and pronounced dead at the scene. The two men shot have not been identified died of shots fired to their heads. The additional two wounded were a man and a woman.
Yes they all those described here were Black victims and it just angers me so that after all this time this is where we find ourselves; this is what we have come to? Honestly, I get it. I am full of compassion and empathy to the plight of our people.
I get that we have grave wounds from our past, that slavery has done a psychological number on us, I am familiar with and understand the Willie Lynch programming, I understand the ravage that racism and its terrorist tactics have wreaked upon my people, the mental and emotional scars of oppression; how it has our men repressed unable to be themselves– alpha males that they are with . . . “so many gifts to give and no where for them to live”~ Gregory Porter.
It’s a horrible thing to be despised by others just because you are who you are. Yet observe them mimic and adopt your style, the way you talk and your non accepted vocabulary, cop your self-expression, steal your rituals and at best be their creative muse, however great or small and yet still hate you.
In an editorial meeting this past summer one of our interns so innocent and naïve asked the question, “why do they hate us?” as we discussed growing numbers of the police brutality against Blacks captured on video. I was in awe at what they didn’t know, what they don’t know. As journalist, it’s imperative to be well read, to be knowledgeable and exposed to more than your myopic view of life based on your individual experience. How can you begin to talk about this horrific position or state that we find ourselves in if you have no understanding frame of reference of Emmett Till, Malcolm (Little) X’s father? Or the thousands of lynching’s, the mutilation of Black men’s bodies, the brutal rapes and abuse of Black women and the total disregard of both the men and women as human beings. I understand it all, I get it.
Yet I want to say, we matter, we are valued, yes Black lives matter but we must matter first to ourselves, we must value ourselves and it is challenging when we experience what they have done to us to make us so disrespectful of ourselves, so hateful towards ourselves, so self destructive. And still as Maya Angelou would say . . . “and still I rise.” Yes we must rise from the ashes they would have us suffocate in. The fumes that smother us is the oppression that presses heavy against our chests so unbelievably heavy that we can hardly breathe. So I am not surprised that our youth chose to use, “I can’t breathe” as the expletive to capture the aggressive violent behavior towards our people by white police.
We don’t deny our crimes against one another but we can’t expect others to solve our problems. We have to accept responsibility for that just as we must accept responsibility for educating and preparing our youth for adulthood.
We are responsible for our own.