I sometimes feel like the tragedy never ends in these times. I’ve been reading salacious romance novels all weekend for a little bit of escape. That being said, I think there’s a time to process things, and then a time to act. It’s time to act.
This is a warning that I’m about to get political on you. Stop reading now if you don’t want any of my liberal political opinions.
I’m getting to the point where I’m hating to do these things. But I also feel like the blog is a place with an audience, and we should all be doing something if we can. I’ve been sad all weekend about the latest African American deaths and the Dallas police shooting. It feels like the world has been upended.
As always, history gives me a little bit of hope. A friend of mine asked if this year was the worst we had ever seen. While it’s the worst one I’ve experienced, your parents and mine were all around for 1963. That’s when JFK was shot, riots sprang up all over the south about desegregating schools, Birmingham churches were bombed, and the Birmingham riots happened. That’s the one you always see footage of when you’re looking at civil rights films: police called out the dogs on a peaceful protest (literally) and sprayed people with high power hoses, crushing them to death in a panicked crowd.
I don’t bring it up to pass the buck. It’s just that sometimes I feel like there’s so much to do that it’s impossible to accomplish anything. It feels hopeless that our current situation will ever get better, that race will ever be anything but deadly in this country. It’s a bit helpful to know that, as bad as things are, it’s not rock bottom. We’re making progress. We can continue to make more.
The Dallas police were doing the right thing at that protest. No one was wearing even a Kevlar vest, and they were walking with the protesting crowd, not positioning themselves as against it. That, my friends, is a whole lot of progress. It’s just sad that it had to end the way it did.
We only make progress by acting. And, like it or not, we only make progress when the majority is convinced that things aren’t okay and need to be changed. If you’re white, that puts the onus on you to stand with the black community. Not to speak or advise, but to point a finger and say “this is important, listen to this.”
Blue Lives Matter? Yes they do. My post on what you can do to further gun control laws is here. If mentally unstable people didn’t have easy access to weaponry, they couldn’t open-fire on crowds and target police.
Black Lives Matter? Yes they really, really do.
First, you can read the BLM movement’s list of demands. How best to help once you know what is needed? Google your city council and your mayor. Their names and email addresses should be easily accessible. Write them that you want civilian oversight of police proceedings, and body cameras for everyone (if you don’t already have it – you should be able to check that on the web, too).
And I just want to point out one small thing in this whole debate that you can think about. While I think we all support police and the courageous work they’re doing in our communities (for the most part), a blue uniform is something someone can take off. A police officer can quit their job and/or dissolve back into regular society if they want to. A black person cannot ever stop being black.
Alright, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
Have a happier week, please.