I have been protesting and organizing for over a decade. I stood up against racism at a mostly white private christian college, traveled the country campaigning against youth recruitment in the Iraq war, supported the people of New Orleans to rebuild their city whose government neglect and institutional racism caused the death of too many in the aftermath of Katrina, and marched in Wisconsin for the labor movement, walked in gay pride parades, blah, blah, blah ect. I’ve been to D.C. more times and to more rallies I can count but lately I’ve been burnt out on holding signs marching and chanting. After years of struggle its apparent that protests are not the beginning and ending of victory. They usually serve as a cry of desperation or a space for people to vent but rarely do they take the movement where it needs to go… yet they are still vital to the struggle. When I went to Ferguson it was important to me to bring donations and resources to sustain the struggle of the people on the ground. We gathered supplies for protesters and participated in the call to action and march under the direction of Mike Brown’s parents.
later with the increase in protests int he aftermath of Ferguson and now the failure to indict Eric Garner’s killers I was once again compelled to hit the streets. The anger, frustration, and pain was weighing in so heavy, the sense of hopelessness and powerlessness was eating at me so much. I knew it wouldn’t solve things but I had to do something for my own mental and emotional health my words weren’t enough I had to go to Ferguson and March (and I hate marching). Then again when they failed to indict for Eric G. I had to hit the streets here in Chicago.
Last night we walked for 3 hrs, laid in multiple intersections, and my heart raced as I stood arm to arm with friends and some of my youth from CFS and stared down the CPD in the middle of Lake Shore Drive. Given all that it was difficult for me to march in a crowd of hundreds of white people chanting #BlackLivesMatter. Mostly because I know in their lives they don’t have to. I wanted them to go chant that to their families who help create and profit from these corrupt systems killing us. I know white people can’t free us.WE HAVE TO FREE OURSELVES ultimately but white people have to do more than chant and march without confronting the enemy in their minds and families. Solidarity is a life long journey that reaches beyond Activism. It involves on going selflessness ,risks, and sacrifice I doubt most are ready for. Not wanting to have to deal with naive white people is one of the reasons i’ve avoided protesting for so long.
” (BlackLivesMatter) It’s time to really put the affirmation into real life action. Internally and Externally; we must conduct our lives, and our relationships with each other is such a way that fully embodies and validates the affirmation. We need commit to unrelenting resistance and the full destruction of all Systems and Institutions that seek to exploit, degrade, or deny Black lives any thing less than what is needed to live full and dignified Black lives. We will know real soon if this is a real affirmation, if it is a war cry, or if it’s nothing more than a slogan.”- Diallo Kenyatta