Just because we are magic does not mean we are not real.
– Jesse Williams
In the space of 24 hours, we have lost two members of our black community due to police brutality. We have lost Alton Sterling a father of five, who was shot at point blank range while selling CDs outside a store with permission. Then we lost Philando Castile, who was shot while reaching for his wallet under police orders; he was killed on a highway in front of his girlfriend and young child.
These innocent lives that were snatched away are not the first and will sadly not be the last, as the establishment have and can take innocent black lives without permission and without being brought to justice for their actions. Our black transnational communities are rightfully tired of mourning, tired of seeing black people be killed on their timelines. We are tired of having our hearts filled with sadness that the black people we see being killed could be our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and more.
But collective mourning, prayer and retweets cannot tackle the colossal beast of white supremacy and institutionalised racism. Our diplomas, degrees and education, cannot ensure that our lives are deemed worthy. This mission is bigger than getting a graduate job and achieving in a system that is set against us. This is about justice. To hold the keys at every door, so that we can hold the monster white supremacy accountable when it comes knocking. Due to warped historical-racial categorisations, blackness is haunted with assumptions of our identities thrust upon us through discrimination and ignorance.
Epidermalisation is the factor that causes us to be singled out and humanity stripped from us solely on the basis of our skin colour. There is no doubt that Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were wrongfully killed by authorities due to this; their skin colour was the only reason they didn’t survive their encounters with the police. This is while Dylann Roof, who murdered nine people of colour in the Charleston church shooting in 2015, was arrested peacefully and is still alive. His name amongst many others are a testament that white privilege is the only saving grace when it comes to law enforcement and the justice system. Blackness was the only “threat” Alton Sterling and Philando Castile possessed.
This is about caring not only for ourselves, friends and loved ones but the whole PoC community, making sure that we take steps every day to be better, to have a voice and to make positive changes to our communities.
It is time to get organised. It is time for formative activism, for black leaders and influencers to come together to shout about the injustices that are being inflicted on our communities. For us black people at grassroots level to invest in our development and make a pledge to dedicate our lives to improving our communities. For white allies to stand up and speak out against injustice, institutionalised racism and to support their PoC friends and family through these difficult days. For allies to understand that each death incurred by the hand of law enforcement acts as caustic agents on a wound that cannot heal, a wound that is aggravated by the continual social, political, economical and racial subjugation of our community and culture.
This is not freedom. This is not equality. On days like this our mental health takes a beating, with our anger and sadness being pushed to marginal limits. If you are struggling make sure you reach out to people who understand and empathise with your feelings, breathe deep and implement self-love. I know it is hard, but we must save the tears and debates and promise that the names of these innocent victims will not be forgotten or lost in a hashtag.
This fight for justice is going to be tiresome and a generational plight. It is time to get organised. It is time to get in formation.