As we sit in front of our television screens, laptops, and phone screens, we regularly see the continuous brutalization of African Americans in the United States. Most people in communities of color, as well as supporters of what is right just, say that this blatant disregard for human life is police brutality, while “others” say these egregious acts is the police just doing their jobs. But the reality is that all our eyes see the blatant disregard for the human and civil rights of BLACK PEOPLE in America. With states beginning to lift their stay at home orders, citizens are beginning to feel more relaxed as they go outside to get something as simple as fresh air. Even though the United States is being crippled by the rapid spread of COVID-19, it is not surprising to see that police officers in parts of New Jersey and New York have been showing displays of excessive force towards their citizens, who so happen to live in more urbanized neighborhoods. But, sadly, we live in an era where it is shocking to see police officers actually making an effort to protect these citizens while showing them some form of humanity and sympathy during these stressful and uncertain times.
I had the opportunity to interview Amber Baylor, a single mother, who is raising her seven-year-old son. I asked Amber, “Does your son know what it is like being a young black man in today’s society?”
She responded, “Devin just made seven-years-old, he doesn’t see color. But, as his mother, I’ve always let him know who and what he is. I try to direct and inform him of his culture, and what others had to go through for his freedom to stand as a black (young) man in America.”
As African Americans, we are continuously fighting for our lives with the grim reality that we may not be coming back home today. Especially, if going for a friendly jog turns into an innocent man, someone’s son, being gunned down and lynched, or a father being choked to death for just selling CDs outside of a corner store. As my community continues to fight for justice for those who have lost their precious lives to police brutality, a corrupt legal system, and other forces that are beyond our control, WE still find courage and strength to stand and speak our truth, “STOP KILLING US!”
I am tired of us not being able to go to the corner store without fear, go jogging without fear, reading a book in our car without fear, asking for help after a car accident without fear, playing on a playground without fear, celebrating New Year’s Eve or day without fear, reaching for our wallets without fear, going to church without fear, enjoying music in our cars without fear, having a cellphone without fear, lawfully carrying a weapon for protection without fear, decorating for a party without fear, going grocery shopping without fear, asking a police officer a question without fear, drinking tea and eating skittles while walking home without fear, relaxing in our own homes without fear, selling CDs without fear, leaving your own bachelor party without fear, getting a traffic ticket without fear, having a disabled vehicle without fear, cashing our own check without fear, BREATHING without fear, and just OUT RIGHT LIVING without fear.
I am just so tired. America, are you?