Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Crying out Loud; Our HUMAN Right

I have been sitting with this Reflection for some time. There was and still is a lot of feeling behind it. I said it would be a busy year but it is feeling like a busy, painful year of situations and incidents that scream, What is going on?

We have the right to be treated as human beings, to not be judged while shopping or walking. I have been reflecting a lot on this statement and would like to share my thoughts out loud with you. We are now faced with the “Hoodie” becoming the symbol of walking while Black. What is next my Peoples?

We are critical of other countries and how they treat their citizens yet we are in a crisis. Racism is being defined by those who have power and control. We need to cry out loud and speak our truth.

While talking to Brandi about this, she shared something her Professor said in class. “We are still fighting a Civil War.” My initial reaction was; that is deep. I then went back and read some information on the Civil War to understand why that statement made so much sense to me and how it truly applies to what we are facing today. Here is what I found and what I think speaks to today.

“Lincoln said, "This question of Slavery was more important than any other; indeed, so much more important has it become that no other national question can even get a hearing just at present."

“Southern concerns included not only economic loss but also fears of racial equality(1-4)The Texas Declaration of Causes for Secession( 5-6)said that the non-slave-holding states were "proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color", and that the African race "were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race". Alabama secessionist E. S. Dargan warned that whites and free blacks could not live together; if slaves were emancipated and remained in the South, "we ourselves would become the executioners of our own slaves. To this extent would the policy of our Northern enemies drive us; and thus would we not only be reduced to poverty, but what is still worse, we should be driven to crime, to the commission of sin.” (7)

It’s in our face! You cannot ignore it or run away from it. Just when I was hoping a shift was coming, I read the tweets about the movie Hunger Games.

"why does rue have to be black gonna lie kinda ruined the movie."

"Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn't as sad."

"Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the little blonde innocent girl you picture."

Come on now, what is going on?

In preparing to participate in a conference focused on the Human Rights work of the Network of Afrolatinamerican, Afrocaribbean and the Diaspora, I am having a difficult time focusing on Latin America because I am distracted by all the violations we are seeing here today. What happens here sets a tone and extends to other places. Are we being hypocritical?

A few months ago I wrote about protecting our young boys of color, now the nation is hurting from the shooting of a young boy of color. We are feeling it my peoples! If you have a young boy of color in your home, family, community, we are looking at them and saying, “Be safe.”

It has hit close to home as I have a 10 year old nephew who is bright and curious. My sister shared with me that she has a picture of Christiaan on her desk. The pain we are all feeling for Treyvon led her to place a picture of him with Christiaan. A co-worker walked by her desk and said, “Wow, Christiaan has really grown, he looks good.” Michele said, “That is not Christiaan, look closer.” He then said, wow, and walked away.

Why am I not surprised and why do I think we are facing dangerous, painful times? I have not shared this with many, not even those in my inner circle. Less than a year ago, I found myself in a very painful, scary situation.

I was standing at a corner waiting to cross the street. While standing there two white men in a car, decided to yell the N word at me. They went on to say, “Get out, the country is falling apart because of people like you.” Immigrants suck” I stood there in shock.

I began saying to myself, “I know things like this happen but why now, why me. I started looking at myself, is there something I have on that caught their eye? My hair, my clothes, what? It is important to note that this was in a predominant white community.

In that moment, I was angry. As I crossed the street, they continued their bantering. When I finally got to the other side, I turned around shacking and said, “You have no right to speak to me that way.” I saw the expression on these two men faces and for the first time, I felt physically scared.

So in sharing this I say; I am not surprised at the state of the world and daily violations of our HUMAN Right.

To walk with a “hoodie” over your head, to act in a movie, to stand at a corner, where is the cry for our HUMAN Right?

There is a lot of anger in the air. Where and how do we begin to heal? Can we truly heal in the state we are in? We are living in a society where a victim becomes a perpetrator in minutes.

As I shared in the reflection about protecting our young boys of color, whatever Treyvon did in the past in no way justifies being shot down.

They are so many areas of concern in this case but today, I will stand on the side of our HUMAN Right to be treated with dignity and respect. We should be able to walk free, dress however we want and express our talent.

I brought this conversation to the young women of the HER Project. They were engaged and clear in knowing one thing, the cards are stacked up against them. They already feel that things in our society are not fair and that it is a black and white state of mind.

It was very sad to hear but it was good to give them the opportunity to speak out loud and share their pain. We decided we would do something that would speak to the injustice and that although we cannot speak for all, we would do something to begin the healing in our community. I am proud of them for speaking up and hoping to move forward which is what I am hoping we can all do.

This thought came to me on Friday, “We have to be grounded in who we are, know our worth. Knowing this will build an awareness of what role that plays in society. This becomes important when someone pulls the rug from under you, brings tears to your eyes by their need to treat you less than human or call you anything but Queen or King. When that moments comes, stand strong, breath to bring the ancestor light into your being then open your eyes and say, I am a Black man- I am a Black woman in the Americas.”

I close with the words on Martin Luther King on the anniversary of his assassination, “The sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.”

Spring is here familia. It is a time for growth and transition. May the sun shine in our hearts and expand our minds. May we find ways to heal our internal landscape and may that extend itself into our community garden.

Peace and Blessings,


1.John Townsend, The Doom of Slavery in the Union, its Safety out of it, October 29, 1860.2. McPherson, Battle Cry, p. 243. 3. David Potter, The Impending Crisis, p. 461.4.William C. Davis, Look Away, pp. 130–140- 5. William W. Freehling, The Road to Disunion, p. 42. 6. A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union, February 2, 1861 – A declaration of the causes which impel the State of Texas to secede from the Federal Union. 7. Winkler, E. "A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union.". Journal of the Secession Convention of Texas. Retrieved October 16, 2007.

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