Set the World on Fire Challenge – Day 13

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Around the nation, social justice warriors are standing up for our embattled communities. We’re demanding that our young men and women of color be equally valued under the law and protection of the police.

An urgent march has been called by the NAACP—this Saturday, morning, December 13th, the “Justice for All March” is convening in Washington, DC. Civil Rights groups have called upon activists from around the nation to convene in the capital.

Join the families of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, Jr. and civil and social justice activists as we march for Justice for All.

What: Justice for All March against Police Brutality

When: Saturday, December 13th morning (RSVP for details)

Where: Meet at Freedom Plaza 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC

#StayWoke

Set the World on Fire Challenge – Day 12

Set the World on Fire Challenge – Day 12

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Each Friday, we dedicate the day to a lost brother or sister. It gets exhausting, but these names must be spoken and these lives must be honored. On Tuesday, December 2nd, Officer Mark Rine fatally shot Rumain Brisbon on his doorstep. Cigarellos, untaxed loose cigarettes, pellet guns, toy guns and now a pill bottle can be added to the list of reasons for death in America.

Aiyana, Serenity and Skyler, as a daughter who has lost a father, I can tell you that life will never be the same for you. You will feel a pang in your heart on birthdays, Christmas, and simple trips to McDonald’s. Aiyana, this birthday will be hard for you, but remember that there are thousands of people all around the world who are sending you love, light, and positive energy.

Please read Aiyana’s letter to Mark Rine.

Rest well, Rumain. We are now responsible for your family. We will take care of them as we fight for justice for you.

Ashe.

“The dead cannot cry out for justice. It’s the duty of them living to do so for them.” – Lois McMaster Bujold

All Lives Do Not Matter

Disclaimer: Over the years, I’ve developed a writing style. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing, I always find a way to end on a positive note. This blog does not end that way.

All Lives Do Not Matter

I hate that I have to write this blog. I hate that I have to explain this concept. I hate that y’all continue to diminish black lives with this “all lives matter” foolishness. Listen to me and please listen carefully, all lives do not matter!

If all lives mattered, I wouldn’t have to write this blog. If all lives mattered, I wouldn’t have to tell y’all that BLACK lives matter. If all lives mattered, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Rumain Brisbon, Tamir Rice and countless others would not have died in the name of “service and protection.”

IF all lives mattered..

So next time you’re about to tweet #AllLivesMatter or repost a picture with #AllLivesMatter, please take me off your whole entire (yes, whole entire) list so my eyes do not have to continue to see this tomfoolery! Please, pretty PLEASE do NOT come anywhere near me with “but Jesus loves ALL of us” “we are ALL equal” “liberty and justice for ALL” crap. Miss me with that. Don’t use “All” detergent on my clothes. Don’t even sing “all of me, loves all of you,” around me and Lord knows how much I love John Legend. Be cautious of even using words that start with the prefix “al” when speaking to me. “Already, alma mater, although, always.” I don’t want to hear it!

Y’all are on my last nerve and if I wasn’t saved by the Jesus who loves us ALL, I’d litter this blog with cuss words! Here’s my very obvious gripe with “All Lives Matter,” the fact that y’all won’t even allow us to have a hashtag without making it an all-inclusive term is a problem!

Please tell me the point in negating black lives with all lives? I don’t understand it. What is your purpose in refuting my cry for black lives with telling me that all lives matter? Did I say that other lives did not matter? Is there a reason that I have to be reminded of all lives when my brother is lying dead in the street for 4.5 hours bleeding out? What about when twelve year old Tamir Rice did not receive medical attention for four minutes? He lay on the sidewalk in excruciating pain from a gunshot to the abdomen, but y’all want to tell me about ALL lives? Eric Garner managed to wheeze out “I can’t breathe,” several times while he was being choked out by one officer and dragged down on the street by several other cops, but I need to talk about all lives.

What is your point?

Whether you want to admit it or not, there is a race issue in this country. I have dealt with racism my entire life. For some reason, I thought it might have been a fad back in the day. I thought I would grow out of racism. I thought that my respectability would save me as an adult. I’m not sure why, seeing that respectability didn’t do much for me or any of my friends when I was a youngster. I am 27 and I can still remember the uproar of being voted into coronation court my junior year of high school. I can remember hearing whispers of how my friend, an intelligent black boy, would have to walk with a white girl. I can remember hearing whispers about what white boy would walk with me. I can remember seeing “nigger lover” written by the names of my friends who were also voted into the court. As an adult, I have been scowled with mighty looks of disgust when walking into job interviews and conference rooms. So please, PLEASE, do not remind me about all lives.

Black Lives Matter does not mean that you don’t matter. Shedding light on the value of black lives does not devalue your life. Speaking out about injustice against people of color does not take away from your privilege. My oppression is not oppressing you! Trust me, the world is still revolving around you and the system is still protecting you. Our hashtag is not affecting your comfortable life. It might make you slightly uncomfortable, but you will be fine. Listen to Jon Stewart. He’s one of your own and he speaks the absolute truth.

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No longer will I try to explain oppression to the privileged. No longer will I try to explain value to the devalued. No longer will I try to rally and recruit soldiers for this fight.

I can’t do it anymore.

I have said this time and time again, just because I like hamburgers doesn’t mean I hate hot dogs! Just because I like boneless wings doesn’t affect bone-in. Just because I think that killer cops should be indicted for murdering unarmed victims doesn’t mean that I hate all cops. Just because I fight for the justice of black lives does not mean that I hate all white people. Kio has told y’all that reverse racism is not a thing, so stop it.

I am tired of trying to explain why you should care. I am tired of marching with only a few people. I am tired of people telling me to give up this fight. I am tired of thinking that change will never come. I am tired of being mad. I am tired of grieving. I am tired of being bogged down by a responsibility for my people that I do not think many other people share.

I am tired of all lives not mattering.

So the next time you decide to scream out All Lives Matter, think of the black lives that have laid down soaking the concrete in their blood. Think of the widowed wives, orphaned children, and bereaved families. Think of me and my nigger loving friends.

Black Lives Matter.

This is and will forever be my stance. Don’t try to make me back down. Don’t try to white out our black lives. Don’t try to white wash black lives with all lives. Don’t try to make me be silent.

With all that being said, just don’t try it.

-Tashara

Set the World on Fire Challenge – Day 10

Set the World on Fire Challenge – Day 10

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In the midst of poor decisions by grand juries, protests have erupted all over the country. Thousands have gathered to march, chant, block traffic, be the change and set the world on fire. Check out this article highlighting many of the protests around the country. You would think that this display of solidarity would spark honest conversations about racism in this country, but that change is slowly coming–that’s a rant for another day. For today, we want to applaud all of the freedom fighters around the country! To all of the people out on the front lines, we salute you!

Thank you for standing up for the lives that we have lost.

Thank you for being the change.

Thank you for setting the world on fire.

Thank you for Shutting It Down!

Here are a few tips for finding a protest in your area:

  • Organize one! It only takes a faithful few. Yes there is strength in numbers, but a few voices are better than none.
  • Search hashtags on social media: #ShutItDown with your city name, #BlackLivesMatter, #FromFergusonto(your city) #FromStatenIslandto(your city)
  • Check your local news websites
  • Word of mouth: Ask a fellow freedom fighter or post a status online

Here are a few of the pictures from protests that I have been part of

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Stay in the fight and #StayWoke

Ashe

Set the World on Fire Challenge- Day 9 – Activism is the New Black

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.

1,2,3,4,5.

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.

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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.

-Tashara

Set the World on Fire Challenge – Day 8

Welcome to week 2 of the Set the World on Fire Challenge!

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Kio wrote a jarring piece titled, “No One Dime- Wielding Our Power” on Day 4 of our Set the World on Fire Challenge. She challenged us to #BuyBlack and #BreaktheBeastsBack.

Try patronizing some Black-owned businesses – there are plenty of them out there delivering awesome products.  And even if you can’t shop Black-owned all of the time, still shop small, shop local.

We have to stand together on this. We have to be fully sold out in order to be effective. This is not the time for fair weather activists and “sometimey” participation. We need you to commit.

Here are a few resources to help you #BuyBlack:

Buy a T-Shirt from our TeeSpring store. Profits will go towards funding a Black Lives Matter Christmas Vigil in Gadsden, AL and 25% will be donated to the family of Tamir Rice and Eric Garner

Download the Around the Way app on your smartphone – This app will show you black owned businesses in the area that you’re in.

50 Gift Ideas from 50 Black Owned Businesses

36 Black Owned Etsy Stores

Peace Images Jewelry (these pieces are everything)

Black Business List

We must hold each other accountable. We will only overcome if we stick together! Let’s Set the World on Fire and Break the Beast’s Back!

-Tashara

Set the World on Fire Challenge – Day 7 – Spotlight: Lecrae

Set the World on Fire – Day 7

Today marks one week of the Set the World on Fire Challenge! We are proud of you! Stay in the fight, y’all! Stay woke.

I wanted to wait until next week to write this piece, but since Lecrae launched the #SayIWont video contest I found it only fitting that I take a moment away from petitioning the saints to praise a world changer who is Setting the World on Fire. Don’t think you’re off the hook, saints. I’m still coming for y’all next Sunday!

Lecrae Moore, simply known as Lecrae, is the change..

I am a concert goer. I love concerts. I will spend a cute coin on concert tickets. I enjoy traveling to different cities to go to concerts. I think I love concerts more than I love cake and I really, really love cake. I also love Jesus. I love unconventional, nontraditional Jesus. I love the Jesus in the book of John. I love the Jesus who most people know nothing about. I love relationship with Jesus. I love concerts that speak about Jesus.

With all of that being said, a few weeks ago I attended the last concert on the Anomaly tour. This show combined my love for the energy of a concert and my love for unconventional, nontraditional, not confined within the four walls of the church with stained glass windows, Jesus.

Lecrae absolutely blew my mind.

We heard from the heart of Lecrae Moore that night. We heard his story. We heard his hurts. We heard his regrets. We heard his downfalls. We heard his triumphs. We learned that a police officer not only allowed Lecrae to live after he terrorized people in his neighborhood with a pellet gun, but this officer also encouraged Lecrae to find out about unconventional, nontraditional Jesus. Lecrae did not take that lightly. He dug into the dusty Bible that he hadn’t read in years and became the change.

Days after that concert was over, I was still energized. Then Lecrae continued to light me on fire. As our country continues to decline, Lecrae has unapologetically spoken out about the injustice in our un-United States. He has blatantly called a thing a thing and spoke the forbidden word that America and the westernized American church refuses to hear, “Racism.” Lecrae has burned our ears with the truth of the gospel and the truth of injustice. Lecrae continues to challenge us to put feet to our faith.

That is my challenge for every person with a beating heart. Empathy is a quality that is lost. I am studying to be a counselor and each course, each book, and each study that I have read focuses on empathy and how to employ that quality into our counseling philosophy, our therapeutic sessions, and our lives. With empathy, you feel the heartbreak of Tamir Rice’s parents. You feel the heartbreak of each Eric Garner’s six children. You feel the heartbreak of Mike Brown’s family.

With empathy, you can’t breathe.

With empathy, you stay woke.

With empathy, you set the world on fire.

We have to have faith that change can happen in our country and in our world. We have to have faith that our efforts, though they may seem insignificant, can make a difference. We have to have faith and we also have to work.

Do I have to continue to quote that faith without works is dead?

I have said this time and time again; social media activism is not enough. It’s a start, but it’s not the end. We have to saturate our communities with our empathy. Fill our communities with our faith. Work in our communities to rebuild, restructure and bring change.

Set the World on Fire.

As a professing and practicing Christian, I don’t believe that this is the way that our God intended for our world to be. I don’t believe that this is how He commissioned His people to live.  But I do believe that he has given us intelligence, resources, dreams and visions to fix the unfixable; to change the unchangeable; to bring light to the injustice in this country in order to ignite justice.

Lecrae started a #SayIWont Video Contest that encouraged people to upload a 15 second video of them spreading love, doing random acts of kindness, and being different!

In the words of the artist himself, “Why y’all scared to be different?”

Why?

We aren’t.

You can check my #SayIWont video on Instagram. Here are a few of the statements that we’ve used in the past two days:

#SayIWont do an interview on police brutality and oppression for presstv.

#SayIWont sell T-Shirts and donate the money.

#SayIWont do a die-in and protest in the rain (and get my weave messed up). #nojusticenoweave

#SayIWont organize a march in my community.

#SayIWont be the change I want to see.

#SayIWont set the world on fire.

Say we won’t.

We will, but only if we work. Only if we put effort behind our words. Only if we put feet to our faith.

Thank you for challenging us, Lecrae. Thank you for speaking the truth in love. Thank you for being different. Thank you for being the change. Thank you for setting the world on fire.

Say I won’t (why y’all scared to be different?). Say I won’t (we them outsiders, that’s just how we live it). Say I won’t (and I bet I will). I might do it just to show you. Thinking you’ll stop me, no never not letting you. You must be high on that medical thinking I won’t. But I know better, know that I bet I do. Say I won’t..– Lecrae

-Tashara