I woke up yesterday morning 5 am.
I woke up thankful to be alive and grateful to be with my daughter. I got up begrudgingly to traverse to New York’s Pix 11 news station to talk about a pair of dead Black man that were slain at the hands of police. “Do I really want to talk about this?” I had to do it. The reports are early, but it is pretty clear from the accounts and the videos that there was foul play. Sure, there will be an investigation. Sure, police are innocent until proven guilty. The only issue is these very American processes often yield decidedly un-American results if you are a person of color.
Alton Sterling was executed. Philando Castile’s girlfriend was so mistrustful of the police she Facebook-lived her man as he died. Did I mention a 4-year old child was in the car? Later in the day, South Carolina death was ruled a “suicide” when a young man died by hanging himself. The KKK was handing out flyers in the area the day before, according to reports. When I got to Pix 11, I saw friend and consummate activist Tamika D. Mallory – refreshing. Whenever she is around, I know something intelligent will come out of a conversation even when I am unnerved.
When we talked, however, it was like having Arctic water thrown on me – sobering. Tamika talked honestly about her teenage son and how she simply wanted him to be allowed to live in this 2016 America. I thought about my daughter and the world that lurks in the not-so-distant future. Its maddening in many ways. When I went on the air I spoke honestly, likening this toxic environment to “mental terrorism.” I believe to be a valid comparison. There have been studies that show that systemic racism and even the perception of racism in action cuts short the lives of Black people, especially Black men. When it was all said and done, Tamika was as sharp, resilient and powerful as ever. And then the the morning show jumped to Ciara’s wedding.
New York’s Pix 11 with Chuck Creekmur and Tamika D. Mallory:
My heart dropped as the brief segment ended and we really didn’t get to drill how we felt home. Poor Alton and Philando. I look at my face on Pix 11 – worn and sad – and I thought of the people I know. We have migraines. We are afraid to leave our homes. We have sleepless nights interrupted by nightmares. Just Monday, my daughter and I were happy during an African Festival that celebrates the origins of life, culture, unity, music, food, fashion, clothing, positive vibes, family and, more importantly life. Life. What a precious thing.
We cannot leave fate up for those that have no respect for our lives, or those that dismiss our movements to take a smidgen of this American apple pie. So, now I am getting ready for the #AllLivesMatter rally in New York. Pardon my sarcasm.
I don’t know where to end this so I’m just going to end it with this: We will not lose.
#RIP to all victims of police brutality and misconduct.