One thing is for sure: none of us will ever forget the year 2020. Could that turn out to be a good thing?

We watched in horror at the depraved killing of George Floyd in the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It invaded all of our news outlets and social media timelines, exploding into the national conscience. George Floyd was mercilessly killed in the streets by an “officer of the law”, who had his knee in George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes as he gasped for air and called out for help. He ended up dying of asphyxiation and used his last breath to call out for his mother… We are heartbroken. This felt immeasurably worse than Rodney King, as George Floyd’s whole life was taken from him in the most disturbing way. We are truly in historical times that our children may one day ask us about in disbelief. America is currently embroiled in riots across the country because we can’t take this anymore. We just can’t.

I am glad to see so many black community leaders using their platforms to speak out, help to focus all of the emotion into action and give people hope. Athletes, actors, activists, and more have come out to help give us a voice. Those who speak at all give us a voice. The celebs have a unique platform. Killer Mike, the rapper and son of an Atlanta Police Officer, said that we “watched a white officer assassinate a black man…. and it tore our hearts out”. We know exactly what he means. I know men that had to take off of work and go home to cry. I feel that. Many of us have cried for days. Parents who feared more than they ever have for the safety of their children trying to live and love in this world. Some who are so disgusted that they don’t even want to leave the house to participate in this current society anymore. We are sick and tired, enraged, hurt, and pushed to the brink. After the hunting down and killing of Ahmaud Aubrey we were wounded deeply. The killing of Breonna Taylor in her own home sent us careening over the edge. The lynching of George Floyd set off a chain reaction. The world being quite possibly forever changed because of COVID-19 has served as a backdrop. Do you remember in the school history books when they describe the political and social climate and unrest before they get into describing a major event or piece of legislation? Those feel like the very times we are in now.

Below is an example of some not so subtle racism. This isn’t so hard to see through the slick sh*t. And he’s helping us to point out those who think similarly in our midst:

Propaganda and covert racist language has been a major weapon of the current administration to mobilize and advance specific interests. Don’t let it slip through the cracks that the L.A. mayor shut down COVID testing centers in direct retaliation to the protests. We already know the ways the novel coronavirus has ravaged poor black and brown communities. Stay woke. We are not trying to get jumped from all sides… Question for you: do you believe that looters and protestors are the same people? Have you seen any of the looters carrying signs of protest? Unfortunately there are so many groups who are trying to hijack this moment in history for their own means. Even before all of the riots, when I saw the string of police killings, I wondered to myself (because I didn’t want to admit it as a possibility out loud): Are they trying to start a race war??

In his most recent speech, Donald Trump called himself an ally to peaceful protestors. He then proceeded to have his detail fire rubber bullets and tear gas at peaceful protesters outside so that he could take a picture in front of a church. I don’t need those kinds of allies, good buddy. Can you imagine if Obama had done that..? That honestly felt like something you’d hear about from a famous dictator (which one did you think about?). In his speech, he also vowed to stop all rioting and looting, criticizing governors for not using more force on protestors. He said that he wants to make sure that there is a military presence so that “we dominate the streets”. Are you paying attention?? He is talking about using tanks to take control. Does it need to be any more obvious? Read up on some history. I watched him say that “we will succeed. Our country always wins”. Uhh, what..? When?? This country only succeeds if we listen to the outcry of those protesting. People are hurting. There is no other way to win if we want this to stop. Don’t be fooled, he’s saying that white people always win. This is what happens when you elect a disrespectful, irreverent, sensationalist figure to be leader of the free world when he’s made it clear that it is his mission to split and divide this country at every possible level. His rhetoric is extremely dangerous as he has acted as a prime catalyst to the division of our country.

There is a great poet, artist, and activist that I’ve been going back and listening to a lot recently: Tupac Shakur. In his song, So Many Tears, he talks about wanting to have kids, just to be around the innocence that he feels like he has lost in his life and in the struggle. It’s a powerfully poignant and depressing commentary. Sometimes when oppression is so deep seeded and embedded in the system, revolution is necessary. I pray that more deaths — on either side — are not necessary for us to get to the point where we can co-exist… or simply have justice.

I’m disheartened to see some of the reactions. I’ve seen some people who have been completely silent when it comes to injustice and abuse of black America. When the destruction of mostly insured property happens, then all of a sudden they pop up with strong opinions. LOOK, LOOK, the way they are reacting is the wrong way to react!! When we kill them, they should react with respect!!! NO. Hell nah, we’ve had enough. We’re not playing any damn mind games anymore. It’s the games boy, I tell you. How true is it that we live in a country where trained cops can panic and act on impulse, but untrained civilians must remain calm with a gun in their face. Let that marinate.

The looting? You can miss me with all of that rhetoric. I don’t feel bad for Target. There needs to be grave commercial and financial ramifications for injustice and oppression. What else can we do?? Money talks in this country, unfortunately. It’s like we need to make y’all care (and go back and get that knowledge from what Wu Tang is trying to say). The sad thing is, only then will we have change. If anybody feels the need to quote MLK, please do some research on his life and beliefs.

Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bet you you’re not seeing this as headline news… it’s not exciting enough.

Are you listening to the rhetoric of the newscasters that your parents listen to, or are you seeing the footage of what people are posting from their phones?? Cops in Seattle maced a 9-year old white baby girl, and I saw a video of her screaming in pain while adults poured milk into her eyes. I’ve personally seen video of the police driving protestors down in cars, trampling people on horseback, macing protestors in drive-by fashion, shooting tear gas at a pregnant woman in her car and so many other examples of brutality. There is no shortage of this footage online, and the scale of it all is simply overwhelming. They are failing on every screen possible that we can capture footage. They look like the most vicious, unforgiving street gang I have ever seen. In Seattle on Saturday, there were over 12,000 complaints to the police department about police brutality. It may need to be called something worse than brutality at this point.

“Never let them convince you that broken glass and property is violence. Hunger is violence. Racism is violence. Poverty is violence. Injustice is violence”. Don’t you know that this nation is founded on the ideal of fighting for our rights? We GLORIFY that. I’m sure the British were upset about their tea… we don’t care. When it’s freedom and the value of human lives that are on the line, we can all agree that large corporate things can be replaced. Do you know that in the history of the world oppression is really only eliminated through revolution?? We are living in an era that they will depict in documentaries, textbooks, movies, etc.

I heard an incredible speech from Tamika D. Mallory where she said, “Do not talk to me about looters, when y’all are the looters!”. They have literally looted America as well as black people! “We learned violence FROM YOU”, she exclaimed with all of the fiery passion in the world. Peep game: how do you think they filled all of those grand museums that we have..? Isn’t our country spending trillions of dollars on war? 🧐
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Brah, bottom-line is, if you were silent about a cop murdering a man in broad daylight, do not even try to talk to me about people looting. That level of audacity speaks volumes to everyone around you. Your cold and barren lack of empathy is revolting. Why didn’t you put that same level of energy and research into helping a black family feel safe and protected?? I’m straight-up glad that the riots have revealed that in people. For every person who has tried to turn the narrative and take that stance, it has convinced me more and more that we are so in need of this. Revolution is overdue.

That’s coming from someone who has always been of the “Martin Luther King mindset” versus the “Malcolm X mindset”. There comes a time when we must fight, however. Malcolm X once said, “You get freedom by letting your enemy know that you’ll do anything to get your freedom; then you’ll get it. It’s the only way you’ll get it”. He also had to face the harsh realities of the validity of violence less than a year before his assassination, saying that “they could not prosper in a game where they were the only ones expected to play by the rules”.

The boycotts of the State of Arizona because of its refusal to celebrate MLK Day as a paid government holiday extended to musical artist (which cost the state millions in possible investment). The NFL pulled the super bowl in AZ because of the controversy, and AZ approved of the celebration of the holiday less than a year later. If they won’t listen to anything else, they may listen when you impact their money. America is ripe for change. COVID may force our whole world to change. Black people are more than ready to force America to change. Are you going to be part of the solution in this country? Or are you going to spend your energy trying to demean the character of those that are hurting. Think about which side of the history book you want to be in. We’ll all have the tweets and posts to prove it.

Former NBA player, Jalen Rose said it for the people in the back when he said that “we are not here, designed only to entertain. We’re actually living and breathing human beings”. Do they know this? We have hopes and dreams, we have fears and flaws. We have love, insecurities, emotions, passions, disappointments, joys and triumphs.

I need to echo Dominique Foxworth’s (former NFL player for those who don’t know him) sentiments in my own words: I am very happy to see people speaking up, particularly white people. I applaud them, but it is easy to speak up now. We need y’all to speak up when it’s not easy. That’s when you can be a true ally. Don’t wait ’til it gets trendy.

So, what is the answer? Is it that people who become cops are, more often than not, used to being in alpha male roles in society? Is it that those same white men feel they have something to prove to the stereotypically alpha black man in society? Questions that some would seek to answer 🤷🏾‍♂️ I’m not Sway, but I do know 2 good places to start:

1). First and foremost, charge the cops. Do not let them be acquitted, or you haven’t even seen the WORST of the riots that will happen. Is America more willing to lose everything: lives and property, than to give justice to black folks?

2). If you are assigned an area as a police officer, you should know and love that area. You should get to know the people and who they are. You should know the community leaders. You should be about protecting and serving.

That cowardly, murderous cop had 18 prior complaints against him!! Did nobody notice this? Did nobody care?? Gun control? Let’s talk about police control. Can we try to make sure those that have abusive power aren’t racist? Do we have to have black officers police black areas only? Maybe, at this point. How about just good common empathy? White mass shooters are taken peacefully while unmarked black men are killed in the streets.

While I have a heavy heart about all that we’ve seen on footage in recent times, I can see glimmers of light. I am more socially inspired, filled with hope and called to action as a black person than I have been in a very long time. We have much work to do, and I encourage EVERYBODY to seek out knowledge and resources regarding what is going on in the nation. Now is the time for YOUR action. Whether you’re White, Black, Latinx, Asian or purple. Listen, learn, amplify, empathize, and vote! You can donate and you can march as well, but those previous 4 are things that you can do for the rest of your life. To all of the white people: this may feel uncomfortable, but that’s ok. Do you seek to understand the level of discomfort that we black people go through every day? Don’t fall into the propaganda. We are not at war with each other. We are all at war against injustice. To all of my brothas and sistas, I know we have so many complicated emotions right now. Let’s surround each other, be there for each other and be proud that our people continue to rise up and fight for what we’ve got and what we deserve. We are the strongest, most loving, most passionate, most artistic and most intelligent people on the face of this earth. Don’t ever let anybody tell you different.

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What are you currently communicating to your social network about what is going down in our country? Even if it is silence, it is something. Many have been indoctrinated by rampant propaganda that has divided us to a breaking point. Racism is learned. Let’s re-teach our communities. Again, what are you communicating? Is it that you see the need to speak out against injustice? Is it that you are there for people that need to talk? Is it that you don’t give a fxck about us?

Have you seen the show, #BlackAF on Netflix? I love it for so many reasons that I won’t get into here. There is a quote by Nina Simone (delivered by guest star, Tyler Perry): “You will use up everything you got trying to give everybody what they want”. It’s time to direct our energy toward what we need. It’s interesting that in this time as a black person, it feels like we all have been empowered to have a louder voice than I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime. I don’t feel the constant pressure to perform or be or say anything for mass consumption anymore. Many of us feel free to express how we truly feel, and there is a good portion of society who are really listening to us right now. Not just our culture, but listening to what we have to say. For me, this has awoken a different level of consciousness and thirst for more and more knowledge.

Protest, riots and revolution are, by nature, ways to forcibly rise above oppression. Colin Kaepernick tried to do it peacefully. That wasn’t the right way. They didn’t listen… now we don’t care what you think is the right way for us to respond to us being treated worse than trash. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that “freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed”. People in power had their chance. The pen is now being snatched with fury out of the hands of the establishment. You will not write our destiny any longer. Our people are showing that we will risk literally everything to fight for justice, and I am here for it. I hope that you are too.

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