“Where is that balance between safety and intent?”
Sacramento Councilmember Jeff Harris
2/5/2019 Law & Legislative Committee
Review of Proposed Protest Ordinance
The Sacramento PD murdered Stephon Clark. Jared Robinet and Terrence Mercadal saw a Black man in a Meadowview backyard and that is all they needed to discern. In those split seconds between his beating heart and their metal clips, they knew they were safe in taking his life with zero cause. There would be no charges. No loss of job. Nothing. Without Black Lives Matter Sacramento there wouldn’t even be public scrutiny. It would simply be business as usual—because safety to them is a Black man rendered powerless.
Apologies for my absence y’all.
Accountability is hard, blame is easy. One builds trust while the other destroys any inkling of it. You already know that Black Lives Matter Sacramento has been frontline in the fight for accountability and transparency from our local law enforcement entities and other elected public officials for a minute now, this ain’t new. 4 Black lives were stolen by the state of CA in 2018; Stephon Clark, Brandon Smith, Darrell Richards and Marshall Miles. Back to back, every 3 months and NOT ONE killer cop has faced any consequences.
In 1980, Stevie Wonder penned what has commonly become known as the Black Birthday National anthem; and it was written as a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in an effort to urge the government to name MLK’s birthday a national holiday. When King was assassinated in 1968, the Black community said, “this is the least you can do,” considering his murder a blatant act of racist terrorism sponsored by the federal government. The song gave a sort of fire to the urgency to celebrate this man, who left us with a legacy to DREAM…..
You know it doesn’t make much sense
There out to be a law against
Anyone who takes offense
At a day in your celebration, cause we all know in our minds
That there ought to be a time
That we can set aside
To show just how much we love you
And I’m sure you would agree
It couldn’t fit more perfectly
Than to have a world party on the day you came to be
Happy birthday to ya
Happy birthday to ya
When Dr. King gave his last speech the night before he was murdered, he made what many have considered a prophetic pronouncement. I believe that it was more an acknowledgement of his mortality and more importantly his need at that critical moment to reassure his people.
I have watched the clip of Dr. King delivering this speech over and over. I always shed tears. I shed those tears not because I know that he will be stolen from us the next day but because of the enormous love he had for his people and the conviction he had in the ultimate victory of Black people.
These are the words he spoke: "Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!"
When a black man takes a knee to shed light on police brutality in the black community is seen as disrespectful to the flag, but when an actual flag is defaced and stripped of color and left with a single blue stripe to match a job description that’s ok because white people say it is.
When our marches for the dead stop traffic we are met with contempt, road rage, and death threats, but their funeral processions do the same and we should just respect it because of an occupation.
When we are expected to remain calm and collected on the receiving end of violence in high stress situations stemming from the fear of the color of our skin, but they are not held to the same standard as the trained professionals and perceived as more human than we are because of a uniform.
When their murderers have white skin they are deemed “mentally ill” without any type of verification, but if we are murdered in the midst of a full-on mental health episode we are not afforded the same and often hit with “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” because how could a person of color possibly have mental health issues?
When they are automatically turned into heroes upon their demise, but I have to explain to my daughter all the evil things they will surely say about me in the event I am killed during a routine traffic stop, or merely walking home at night.
Yes this is what equality looks like from here.
When they ask for compassion and sympathy and respect...you tell them to fuck all the way off.
Try defending and supporting folks of color the way you defend and support cops.
Stop demanding humanity from people who have it stripped away anytime the thin blue line is called into question.
And get your false fucking flag out of my face. If you respected and gave a shit about this country and the people who make it up...then you would
Blue is the color of a uniform, not a person. Blue is a choice, not forcible oppression. Blue is a job, and the phrase “blue lives matter” is simply a racist, reactionary clapback to the very real human rights struggle of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Police terror is a daily stressor for Black and Brown Americans. In our own city, we have watched on repeat unarmed Black men be murdered when less lethal force most assuredly would have been used on a white community member. We watch predominately Black and economically repressed communities being patrolled excessively as community services disappear and community members find themselves caught up in the criminal justice system with very little way out. With excessive police authoritarianism comes excessive force, and we get calls daily from people traumatized by their interactions with law enforcement. The Black Lives Matter movement was created to address these inequities by dismantling the existing violent structures and creating more just and humane ways of caring for our communities. This can only be done by targeting white supremacy and toxic masculinity which are the pillars of both our current criminal justice system AND the violent crime that they claim to contest.
Over the history of this country, so many people have flocked to America looking for some freaking “pie in the sky.” The choice to come here is very very different for those who were kidnapped and forced to…..come here. Those who in turn built this country from the ground up, via 400 years of free slave labor. Those who when resisted ended up dead. Those who when sought education, ended up with tongues or hands being cut off. Those who when taking a stand against the separation of families received scars from the lashing of whippings. Those who ran were in turn punished with branding or a cut off foot. Not to forget the women who were raped and impregnated by Master and master’s sons, cousins and brothers. This, my friend, is just a smidgen of FACTS that have left Black folks disgruntled and disillusioned by the possibility of opportunities or what DREAMS can even be made of.
All the while, the emboldened spirit of “Make America Great Again” has taken this country back to a time where blatant racism was a matter of law. Robbing us of our culture, language, religion, history, and identity; the ripping apart of family structures, royal bloodlines and torment of the Black father figure is the culmination of destruction, conditioning, displacement and death of Africans and their descendants scattered throughout the world. This destruction left the diaspora dehumanized and constantly seeking the concept of FREEDOM, a concept HUMANITY was supposed to provide. And at the very bottom of America’s hierarchy sits the Black woman, a jewel smashed like coal; the most prized possession of what HUMANITY really tells.
Fahlalala, Merry Melanin, Happy Kwanzaa, Power to the People!! What y'all got for me? I'ma need some things so I'll be set for this new year. Nah, it don't cost nothing; what you have to give to me. Your worth is not determined by how much money you make. You are the gold. I am rich because I know, respect and honor my people. What y'all have, I need!
Ooh whee!! Did we make it to the end of this year y'all?! I'm just checking real quick! Have I told y'all lately, I love you? Black Folxs! I love y'all! Yep, unapologetically, unconditionally, like my life depends on it, deeply without shame or hesitation. Can we be real with each other though, in these last waning moments of 2018? We have so much work to do. Can we resolve to finally relinquish the binds of white supremacy? Can we be our authentic selves without worrying about what white folks will think or say about it? Can we live free of what Queen Toni Morrison articulated as the "white gaze"? Can we strive to understand the devastating impact of the post traumatic slave syndrome? Uh, just a pro tip, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Dr. Joy DeGruy, is a must read. If you read it already, read it again. On my list of things to do in 2019.
It seems like every social issue in this country and around the globe was conjured up by white men with their made up bullshit, left behind wherever they choose to squat. The bullshit is so foul and pervasive that the likes of a Scott Jones and Donald Trump have been elected to lead and represent others, including women whom they detest. The bullshit has become the norm for mediocrity and silence. But in natural leadership fashion, Black women show up to save days and save lives. They don’t call her Auntie Maxine for no reason at all. Let us all get in FORMATION…..because she, the Black woman is here to slay without restraint or limitation or constructs that are opposed to the very essence of her UNTAMABLE EXISTENCE.
…..Sometimes I go off, I go off
I go hard, I go hard
I get what’s mine, I take what’s mine
I’m a star, I’m a star
Cause I slay, all day, we gon’ slay…..
Okay, ladies now let’s get in formation
I see it, I want
I dream it, I work hard
I grind ‘til I own it
Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation, I slay
You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation.