Say their names…

I try NOT to rock the boat. I tend to be a peace at any price kind of girl. But I cannot stay silent. I cannot.

What I seem to have no way to convey or express is that I am feeling angry and desperate and hopeless. The horrors of what I witness in our world seems to be much more than I can comprehend. It is unfathomable to me that the targeted murder of specific human beings is discarded without a global uproar. It is somehow accepted as the latest new story and not a motivation for EVERY.SINGLE. HUMAN to cry out.  Why on earth do we accept this?

Please don’t tell me that there are “bad apples in every bunch”. I don’t want to hear it. The killing of innocent people is happening too often for it to be the isolated incident of one or two power hungry people.

I have a healthy respect for the police. I know many who are downright altruistic and some of the finest humans on the planet. This is not the issue. The issue is much larger than that. It is a segment of society that has a complete disregard for precious human life.

Throughout history, we have experienced incredible loss because of violent action prompted and propagated by ignorance and unreasonable fears. We have lost to those who seek power. We have lost to those who disregard the sanctity of life. I can assume nothing else. What we do not know, we hate. What is unfamiliar, causes fear. Fear inspires violence. Violence destroys. The cycle continues.

I could spend the day naming historical dates and actions that would support our total lack of regard for human life.

Make no mistake, we have not evolved as a human race, we are still driven by our own power and need for territory. We have stuffed ourselves into a quiet little corner with our protections and locked doors. We are afraid to cross the street to help our neighbors, we are encouraged to “keep to ourselves”.

If you are quiet, you are complicit.

Read that again. If you are quiet, you are complicit.

We are blessed with a world full of color. Humanity is a plethora of colors, talents, dreams, and opportunity. Our reaction seems to be not one of curiosity and opportunity but one to abolish all that is not the norm for “me”.

However, I feel like because the color of my skin I have no right to declare my dejection. I do not feel the depth of despair that a black mother feels mourning her gunned down child. I do not live in fear that I will be accused of something going about my normal daily activities. I am an invisible middle-aged white woman who generally goes about a day with little apprehension for my personal safety.

 But I feel it none the less. I feel hopeless. Humanity should be better than this. I am confused and revolted by the propagation of fear and need for power that results in lives being destroyed. 

For most of my life I have tried to love. I felt like this was my gift. To love all humans, not just the ones that looked like me.  Dr. King’s sentiments of “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” have been words I try to live by. 

At this very moment, the world feels very dark. It is not just the pandemic related to the Coronavirus and the hundreds of thousands of lives lost. It is indeed, the pandemic related to the flagrant disregard for the sanctity of human life, of human rights, of freedom.

It is time for each of us to examine our very soul and discover the light and the ugly. It is time to look in the mirror and face our fears, understand the motivations, and begin to resolve the darkness. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; ONLY LOVE CAN do that.

Seeking the light in every human is not a choice but a necessity. I have no delusion that we are all peace keeping hippies trying to save the world. I do believe that when you assume darkness in every human that is exactly what our tainted eyes will see. What’s worse, is that we are literally all in this together. One pebble in a stream causes the change in the flow. One light, illuminates the darkness. One person’s actions influence the actions of those that surround them.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

We ALL should be outraged at the behaviors that have led to the loss of life, the destruction of families, of dreams, of possibilities, of the future. We all should hold this personally. We all should seek change, responsibility, and clarity.  

We all… should say their names:

George Floyd
Trayvon Martin
Breonna Taylor
Ahmaud Arbery
Tamir Rice
Oscar Grant
Eric Garner
Philando Castile
Samuel Dubose
Sandra Bland

Let America Be America Again

Langston Hughes – 1902-1967

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!