How You Livin'?

Black Empowerment

Dear BLM Women,

            You birthed the Movement, have a firm understanding of work which must be done, and are willing to sacrifice for change. You are strong in your conviction to see to it that your children grow up in a world where they have a right to speak up for injustice done to them and to injustices done to others. You are strong in your willingness to be called out by those who don’t understand what you do or even WHY you do what you do, and keeps it pushing. You work closely with other women, and manage on an almost daily basis, to learn from one another and build structures to push the Movement forward. You are the voice on television. You are the strength in numbers who not only show up but actively participate in making it known that ENOUGH is ENOUGH. There will never be enough words to describe the beauty in the struggle for a Black woman encouraged by possibilities for change. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi started it all with a creative Facebook post and so many have followed in the battle.

September 13, 2016 - All Together Now! Working with LEAD and SacACT 

 

Dear BLM Men,

            You know the Movement exists, are frequently confused about your place in the Movement, and want to interject what you think you know about a Movement you did not create. I empathize with you. We don’t take lightly to others shitting on your efforts, nor do we accept we have freedom to do the same to you. That ain’t support. Being a Black male of any age is difficult in America and throughout the world. You have a lot on your plate. You deal daily with being targets and victims of senseless acts of violence. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you reached for your waistband, had a kitchen knife, hammer, or a ham sandwich, overseers/officers have it in their minds through training and indoctrination, which allows them to see you as the enemy and shoot to kill with impunity. For instance, Dazion Flenaugh lost his life due to overseer/officer overreach and a need to “control a situation,” which quickly got out of hand, and we lost him. This was a young Black man, loved by his friends, family, and community. I understand your fear. #‎JusticeForDazion

          Paralyzing fear is REAL and it affects a serious number of Black men, women, and marginalized people.  One purpose of Black Lives Matters is to bring to light the often ignored acceptance of overseer/officer brutality, overreach of law enforcement power, and its impact on Brown bodies in this country. The conversation should point directly to the killing of marginalized folks in this nation. It should be an uncomfortable conversation which involves the discussion of racial profiling and how the PROGRAMMING of overseers/officers to target, victimize, and persecute us often leads to DEATH. We uplift the names of our young Black men, who were taken too soon, in our own city such as Adriene Ludd, whose death remains shrouded in mystery, because Scott Jones is trying to protect his militia by withholding a simple police report. #‎JusticeForAdriene  #notscottfree

            YES! The fear is legitimate. This fear is compounded in the hearts of Black Women of the Movement who not only fear for your lives but for ours as well.#SayHerName

            Systemic oppression and a lengthy history of cruelty has put Black men and women at odds for CENTURIES; pitted against one other for SURVIVAL. Black men and women have been beaten, burned, castrated, raped, families stolen away and sold, bred with our own kin, and a million other ways to destroy our spirit and our fight to get free. Our souls are damaged and raw. If we do nothing else in this Movement, it would be to encourage ALL Black men to not forget where you come from and support the women in our fight for you and with you. Recognizing a need to protect our individual spaces until we can form a union of opposition to the normalization of the Black American experience is going to take time, but we need you here. We need you present and willing to fight with us.  Know you are not alone, but remember, because we care does not mean we are here to bow down to male dominance. That’s not how we roll. Please know it is perfectly okay to want to assert dominance, but human nature sometimes must take a backseat for the greater good.

 September 4, 2016 - Come Meet the Community and Hit These Streets with Us!

 

Dear BLM Allied Humans,

            You understand the Movement, know your place, and support without needless coddling. Babies learn to walk by crawling first, then a series of movements which encourage locomotion, but I ain’t never in my life seen a baby who didn’t fall while they learned. You have accepted you are going to stumble THEN fall. There is no easy way out. Coming to the battle incorporates a willingness to strike the ground and skin your knees before you get the hang of it. Many of you are willing to lose limbs to fight in this struggle with us. This structure building is uncomfortable, yet necessary. You are able to ask yourself what you are doing to make life better for everyone and what you are doing to level the playing field. You understand structure is built through the struggle and that scar tissue can be healing. Your acceptance and understanding of this makes me grateful to have you in our fold.

August 31, 2016 - Come Together, One and All for our Displaced Oak Park Residents - Pizza for Peace from Police

 

Dear All Lives Matter Folks,

            You are colorblind to cultural individuality, can’t find a way out of your privilege long enough to recognize it ain’t all about you, and INSIST those in the skin, who’s color you refuse to see, teach you all about us. You want to help, yet don't know how. You ask questions and get shut down. Why? Because it is not the place of every Black man, woman, and child to allow you to touch our hair, learn our music, and appropriate our culture to alleviate your guilt without your willingness to accept your privilege and what it affords you. Please know it is not our place to teach you what it is like to be Black. We tell you to do the work on your own, and while this may be confusing to you, it is necessary. If there was a prescription for how to fight systemic and racist oppression, WE WOULD HAVE BEEN DONE WITH THIS SHIT ALREADY! We're not even close. Being unapologetic and Black should not be read as rudeness. If you are all up in your white feelings about being told “no” by a person of color who no longer wishes to wipe away your  white tears with their chains of oppression, please accept that and make the moves to move on. Just being "sick of it" ain't changed nothing. Your statement is one of two things. Denial due to white privilege or denial due to oppression of the marginalized, both of which you, and your forefathers have benefited from.

            The disparity between black folks murdered at the hands of overzealous officers/overseers is staggering. Mainstream Media feeds the nation incorrect information 24 hours a day and y’all eat it up because it saves you from exercising your right to freely investigate what you don't know.  Get out there and crack open them books! Believe you, me, reading ain’t never killed no white folks. The day and age we live in is a time of instant gratification. That instant gratification is born out of the privilege to take risks to achieve. Folks in the Movement often don’t have the privilege to take those risks, but we do anyway. Follow our example. #‎checkyourprivilege

October 22, 2016 - Let's Come Together for Black Love Block Party!

 

Dear Trolls, Bigots, and Haters,

            You know who you are. We see you. Your constant whining of "Get over it!” and “Get a job!” "Why didn't they just comply?" "Why were they driving a stolen car?" “Why did they reach for their waistband?"  annoys everyone. Miss me with that bullshit.

            We ain’t changing you and you ain’t changing us. You got dark places you can hide. Go there.  Bless your hearts.

 

 L.


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