Unequal America

Unequal America

by Aronya Waller

No matter how much we protest, cry, riot, sit, or fight

We seem to be forever mired by this ugly blight

Infected by this dark, dank spirit of hatred and oppression

Wondering if there will ever be freedom in our possession

A country supposedly built on life, justice, and liberty

Yet, we can’t even love, pray, and live in true equality

Rest in peace Nabra Hassanen 

What’s Next?

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I have not written a post since the election because it took me some time to process everything. I wanted to make sure that I truly understood what was occurring. I wanted to wait and see if Trump was going to try to unite our country, or would we the fruits of his divisiveness throughout his presidency. Always the optimist, I gave him a chance, and I said maybe things would be better.

Throughout the past 10 days, however, I have seen Trump pick people in his administration that all seem to share one scary perspective of hate in their past. He says that he wants unity, but you question the sincerity of his acceptance speech when you look at his picks. Steve Bannon has been openly connected to white supremacists and anti-Semites. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has been open about his anti-Muslim beliefs, and said on Twitter that the “fear of Muslims is rational.” And lest we forget good ol’ Alabama Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. His view of African-Americans sends chills through my spine because he represents that stereotypical old, white racist man from the deep South. You know the ones that many thought were dead and gone by now, but are now loud and proud again since Trump was elected. Thirty years ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee denied Jeff Sessions a federal judgeship due to his racist remarks. He has called the NAACP and the ACLU “un-American” and “Communist-like.” In addition, it was alleged that he called a black US attorney that worked for him “boy” on numerous occasions.

equality

I am scared. I believe that the civil rights of many will now be considered irrelevant. We must fight harder for every right that we have and each one that we know we still deserve. Yes, we can continue to still protest peacefully. But then what…what’s next? We must unite and mobilize. Each group may be considered a minority separately, but together we are the powerful majority. This goes beyond black, brown, or yellow; Christian, Jewish, or Muslim; straight, bi, or gay; male, female, or non-gender specific. This is the right to live with freedom and equality.

So, tell me, what do you plan to do protect your civil rights?

A Prayer of Comfort and Hope–Dr. Alyn E. Waller

It seems that every week we, as a community, are grieving another life lost. I continually say, “I am more than a hashtag.” Yet, it seems that we may be one mile, one block, one step, one breath from becoming the next hashtag. Good people from both sides have lost their lives, and we have shed too many tears to count. Community activists. Church members. Police officers. Leaders. Students. Mothers. Fathers. Daughters. Sons. Christians. Muslims. Black. Brown. Everyone. It seems no one is safe.

As a Christian, I have faith, but sometimes I find myself asking, Lord, help me with my unbelief. Dr. Waller’s prayer provides that answer.

And so, yes, we echo, even with tears in our eyes, pain in our hearts. We echo the words of the great hymn of antiquity, It Is Well with Our Soul. It is well knowing that God has a way of turning it around. It as well knowing the God has a way of using this to galvanize our efforts so that one day we shall stand and truly safe.

We cannot give up. We cannot give in. Let us fight the good fight knowing that one day we will be able to stand together safely united. Share this video as a reminder that it will be well. #LoveWillWin

What Does a “Bad Dude” Look Like? #TerenceCrutcher

I am constantly amazed about the police shootings that occur throughout this country–black, brown, yellow, green, orange, purple, and white. Every time, I think I have seen it all, another hashtag is created, and I am left sitting here shaking my head. My heart heavy. My soul just a bit more empty. Wondering what more can I say. Thinking how much more can I give. Saying what else can I do. Then, I stop my pity party and remember this is not about me. It’s about us, our community, and our next generations.

(Warning graphic content in the video)

NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |

Can somebody please tell me, what does a “bad dude” look like? In the video below, one of the helicopter police officer (yet to be identified) can obviously tell from way up in the clouds that Terence Crutcher is a bad dude. Really??? Get the heck out of here with the stupid ish. Was it because Mr. Crutcher was black? Was it because Mr. Crutcher was big? Was it because Mr. Crutcher was a man? Or was it the perfect trifecta, Mr. Crutcher was big, black man. If that is not some classic stereotypical profiling, I don’t know what is. I wish the bad officers out there would let me know what a bad dude is so that I can give a heads up to my brothers, my cousins, my father, my uncles, my nephews, and my godson. Better yet, let me know what a bad one, bad girl, etc. looks like so I know how to protect myself.

So now I know that I cannot:

  • Have my car stall on the road #TerenceCrutcher
  • Ask why I was pulled over #SandraBland
  • Reach for my identification #PhilandoCastile
  • Try to reach for a child in my house #AiyanaStanleyJones
  • Be the victim of a botched raid #KathrynJohnston
  • Walk to get some tea and Skittles #TrayvonMartin
  • Leave from a party #RekiaBoyd
  • Do my job #CharlesKinsey
  • Worship in church #CharlestonNine

The list can go on and on. Did all of the people look bad? No. Were they all bad? No. So somebody please tell me. What does a bad dude look like?

Bill Ayres Quote

A man not only needs to know how to fish, he needs to have the freedom to do it and a place to do it. That’s where community comes in. We have to help each other, and we feel government has a very important role therein.—Bill Ayres

More Than a Hashtag #PhilandoCastile

Unfortunately, Facebook has already pulled the live video of Philando Castile’s murder. While many people are still raw and emotional over the death of Alton Sterling, we now have to process the death of Philando Castile. Our men are more than hashtags. They were men with families. Both MURDERED in front of their children by people who have pledged to protect us.

I pray that all people will unite together like they did for Harambe. I cannot understand how a gorilla receives more love than a person. Although Alton and Philando were treated no better than a wild animal, let us remember them as fine Black men taken from their communities. Stolen from their families. Their full potential never realized.

Let us never become complacent. Let this never become the norm. Each day, fight for your community so that we will live in a nation where hashtags like #AltonSterling, #PhilandoCastile, and #BlackLivesMatter are no longer necessary.

Read the article for more information at CBS Minnesota.

Lessons from Jesse Williams — Soulful Success

‪When I saw Jesse Williams speech last night, I noticed something. As he was getting introduced I got the sense he was a bit annoyed. At first, I couldn’t figure out why, but the more he talked the more I understood.

It seemed like he was annoyed because too much of the focus was on him. As I listened, I realized he wanted to highlight the people doing the work. He was simply using his time in the spotlight to bring attention to the inequalities many of us see on a regular basis.

There was a lesson in his delivery. For me, it was a reminder to live and give outside of myself. Also, we should acknowledge those who have paved the way, those who are working at the grassroots level, and really that all of us have a role.

Each of us should be doing something to better our community. Each of us should be vocal in the things we value.There was a lot of talk […] ‪

 

Continue reading on Soulful Success.

Source: Lessons from Jesse Williams — Soulful Success

Saving Our Girls

My heart aches for our girls on a daily basis. In the past month, we have heard of two major beatings with deadly consequences. The first was the untimely death of 16-year-old Wilmington teenager Amy Joyner-Francis, and the second was the sad death of 17-year-old Brooklyn teenager Ta’Jae Warner. No matter what the circumstances were that led up to these fights, I know one thing. It was not worth it. Two young ladies are dead, and many others are facing time in prison.

We have to come to place where our girls understand that fighting is not worth it. They need to learn to love themselves enough to walk away. A split-second decision can have life-changing consequences. We need our girls to understand their value…their true worth. A boy isn’t worth it. An Instagram post isn’t worth it. A side eye…a look (or lack thereof)…shade. None of it is worth it.

How can we get our girls to understand that it’s not worth it? By truly developing and building their self-worth and self-confidence…their true self. For the past few years, the country has focused on the boys and building them up. President Obama even launched the initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Yet, I feel that our girls have been left behind. Not as many people seem to be concerned about their outcomes because, oftentimes, their issues are shadowed by their male peers, but I hope the tables are turning. In March, the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls was announced, and it is supposed to focus on the barriers faced by Black women and girls. However, it may be years before we see the impact of that caucus.

Therefore, we must take it upon ourselves to rebuild our community and our girls. This goes beyond each one, teach one. Why not teach two or three so that no girl is left behind? I know that I can’t do it by myself, but I can do it with a legion of motivators, galvanizers, conquerors, leaders, and builders. Together, we can build their self-worth, and our girls will be able to discover their true selves.

Demand A Plan To End Toy Gun Violence

Yesterday, I was saddened to learn about the police-involved shooting of a black male youth in Baltimore. On the one-year anniversary of the Freddie Gray riots, I was concerned that this shooting could create another uprising. Thankfully, my former home remained calm.

The youth was brandishing a BB gun, which unfortunately looked like a real gun. When police officers commanded him to stop running and to drop the gun, the youth did not respond to the commands. Ultimately, he was shot twice with non-life-threatening injuries.

This post, interestingly enough, is not about police shootings. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I am a victims’ advocate. In fact, this post isn’t really about the victim. That may be another post or article. Rather, I want to focus on the third party within this sad tale—the BB gun.

In an age where Tamir Rice was shot for playing with a toy gun—one that was even identified by a 9-1-1 caller as probably being fake. Would you allow your child to play with a gun that looks real? In fact, would you play with a BB gun in the streets? I posed this question on Facebook, and most agreed that in this climate, we are all too scared to let our children play with any type of toy guns—BB guns, water guns, or NERF guns. They could be black, yellow, orange, or green. We are all scared of how the community, and in turn, law enforcement will respond when a 9-1-1 call is received about a black boy brandishing a gun outside.

Yet, we have greater problems on our hand. How can we get back to a time when there will not be a fear about our children playing with toy guns? What can we do so that our children are not afraid of police officers? Our children should see the police as their friends and protectors. If we do not see that, how can we expect our children to believe that? We know there are many good police officers in the streets, but people like Daniel Holtzclaw, Brian Encina, George Zimmerman, and Daniel Pantaleo have tainted the profession.

There is no immediate solution. Rather, we must all work together. The community, the schools, the police, and our government officials have to change the underlying tones that are running rampant throughout our cities and suburbs. Until then, I am fearful that we will be sharing many more stories about ending toy gun violence.

 

Idea for featured image from publichealthwatch

Idea for featured image from publichealthwatch

Prayers for Amy

Still praying for the family and friends of Amy Joyner #SayHerName #AmyJoyner #RIPAmy