Welcome to Day 9 of the Set the World on Fire Challenge
Activism is the New Black
Yes, that play on words is intentional. There are “new black” activists, baby boomer activists, social media activists, millennial activists. Look around you—everyone is an activist. It is as if activism is the new super power and everyone is activated!
Activism is the New Black.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I am here for all types of activists. We need numbers. We need solidarity. The road ahead of us is long and we need people in the fight. We need people who will be committed. People who will hold others accountable and be held accountable. People who will be the change. People who will set the world on fire.
My concern with this new onset of social awareness is that if our call was “Activists Unite!” I am unsure if all of you would gather up at once.
Activism is not fad.
Activism is not the newest trend.
Activism is not the cute thing to do right now.
Activism is the rent you pay to live in this country.
I hate to admit that I’ve been discouraged lately, but I have. I wake up and I’m unsure if I’m in 2014 or 1960. Every 28 hours, I worry that I’ll have to speak a new name of a new victim. I’ve been afraid that the momentum will die down, we will get distracted and fall asleep. We will be pressured by our Facebook friends to be silent. We will start to back pedal when friends share Kermit memes and forget about the issues. We will simply get tired and give up.
I have marched three times in the past two weeks. Two of those marches have been with only five people. 1,2,3,4,5 of us chanted. 1,2,3,4,5 of us did “die-ins” on private property. 1,2,3,4,5 of us were the change.
I’ve seen people try to organize marches, but could not get enough people to show up, so they stayed home. Whether you march with 1 or 100, you need to march. I’ve seen people comment that we need to go home or that it’s too cold outside or that this is simply ineffective. Whether it’s 0 degrees or 100, you need to stand. This is not a time to complain about being inconvenienced. This is not a time to refuse to sacrifice. This is not a time to think that the issues do not affect you.
I woke up this morning completely burdened. My heart hurt for Mike Brown. I was angry that he lay in the street for four and ½ hours without medical attention. I lost breath thinking of how he was thrown into the back of a SUV like yesterday’s trash.
My heart hurt for Tamir Rice. I was burdened that he lay bleeding out and suffering for four minutes without medical attention. I was angry that his 14 year old sister was handcuffed and thrown into the back of a police car like yesterday’s trash. I was enraged that Tamir’s mother was told to calm down or she would be arrested.
My heart hurt as I thought of Rumain Brisbon’s children who heard their father being shot on their doorstop. Tears welled up as I thought of Rumain’s daughter’s empty stomachs growling as they waited on their father to bring dinner home.
My hands are shaking and my fingers can barely type right now as I am reliving this morning and thinking about my brothers Mike, Tamir, Rumain, Eric, John and all of the other brothers and sisters that we have lost.
Do not wait until the next victim is on your doorstep to fight for change.
When I think of Dr. King, I wonder how many pep talks he had to give. Back then they knew they were oppressed. Back then they were willing to die for the cause, but today we won’t even show up to march. We won’t redirect our spending to black business. We won’t give up Jordan’s and Michael Kors bags.
We don’t see the point because we don’t know that we’re oppressed!
We’re too afraid to share an article, repost a picture or retweet a quote because we don’t want to offend anyone. We don’t want to get on people’s nerves or flood their newsfeeds. We don’t want to change.
We don’t truly want change.
So, for my brothers and sisters who are in the fight, let’s hang in there. Let’s drag each other along when we get weary. Let’s share words of encouragement when we get pressed. Let’s continue to be the change and strive for change. Without us, the trendy activists will go to sleep. Without us, the names of victims will go unrecognized and unspoken. Without us, 28 hours will turn into 8 hours.Without us, change will be a figment of our imaginations.
Without us change won’t come.