I thought that I was going to find my normal space of reflection today. It is Friday afternoon, I’ve seen the announcement re: the charges for all six officers, and I feel so relieved. I feel pride for the young men and women who demanded something and got it this week. I feel pride for the older folk who stood up for them. I feel pride for a government team that couldn’t make any right decisions until they made the right decisions. I feel anxious because I know that there are too many more steps between now and a trial, let alone a verdict. I feel fear because I know that there will be more people of color subjected to police brutality in the coming weeks and months.
I am incredibly proud of the young men who I have seen on all of the major networks all week choosing to air their grievances and push-back against the negative narrative in the most magnificent fashion. As I now hear some media personalities (and leaders) pivot toward calls for “due process” which is “vital” and that these 6 officers who “absolutely deserve it,” I am grateful that the natural counter to this is, “did Freddie Gray not deserve due process? What about Michael Brown? Eric Garner? Tamir Rice? Trayvon Martin?”
One young man, Jay Morrison, was on CNN sometime mid-day today, and he said, “what about the young people who were in the streets on Monday? Did they not deserve due process before ya’ll started getting on TV and calling them thugs and other names? Yet nobody has gotten on tv to say a critical word about the cops.” The reporter was like, “due process is how the system works, is it not?” And what Jay SHOULD have said was, “the system works for some. The system works for you, the system is working for these 6 police officers, but the system did not work for the Freddie or any of the other litany of Black men you’ve seen dead on the news lately. The fact that the system works for some and not all is the reason why the young people of Baltimore are on the street right now.”
But Jay was on national television and, I suspect, wasn’t trying to get all ’bout it with this annoying little pissant reporter on CNN. Note to pissant CNN reporter: was this debate team or an interview with a youth on television? Do you feel better about yourself now? This is why Jon Stewart skewers you fools every night.
Anyway… Jay was on point. There are a lot of young leaders on the streets of Baltimore like Jay right now who are on point. May they continue to do good, strong things for their streets, their neighborhoods, their city and, ultimately, the great state of Maryland.
It is frustrating to have life so disrupted seemingly once a week over the last 36 months to mourn a life, to fear for the lives of others, to feel anger at a system that was built against us, and to shield one’s self from the barrage of ignorance that comes in from the other side. We say, “stop killing us,” they say, “stop complaining” or “pull yourselves up. We did!” or “you deserve it.” I look at my sons and I say, “you can do anything in this world,” and but in my heart I pray, “please Lord, let me keep them out of the system. Let me get past 18. Let me keep them out of the places where they will be hunted for sport.”
It is difficult to feel like you are accomplishing anything when life is disrupted with such frequency and in such an intense way. I lost a week of my life: watching the news, debating with people, worrying and waiting, wondering what happens next. I did things, yes, and I functioned, yes, but there is nothing about this week that progressed my life anywhere. How many others feel that way this week, I wonder? The sun rose and fell, but Lord, how much forward did we move?
My in-laws will be here for 24 hours starting first thing in the morning (I will be counting down the minutes until noon when I can start drinking). Enough time for them to make asses of themselves and for me to get a Monday post out of it? Probably. We’ll see. Real Quiet Thoughts next Friday, for sure. In the meantime, find a sunny spot, a good book, and a favorite brew and allow some time to pass. Give a smile to a person as you walk by and even a “hello” if you can muster. Make a person lunch this weekend, delivered with flair for an extra bonus. Purchase a small something and leave it, anonymously, for someone in your life to put a smile on their face. If you’re wrong, say you’re sorry. If you’re in love, tell a person so. Hug and be hugged. Maybe give a kiss on the cheek, too.
Until Monday, take care.