We cried, we prayed, we marched. San Diego unified on two occasions within one month. The outrage was not limited to churches. There were many largely peaceful protests around the country, and I am honored to say we (100 Strong) organized a few in San Diego. There was consensus among black leaders, and our own President Obama, shared his experiences and even compared himself to young Trayvon. Unfortunately, it took a young man’s death to bring more awareness to a nationwide epidemic. An epidemic by definition is something affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population.
Hence, we are experiencing modern day lynching. Some of you may wonder why I’m choosing to use the words you’re reading. I’ll tell you why. The time is now, and we are ones! It is clear the United States of America does not value the lives of men of color. Race continues to be the grandiose elephant in the room. People ignore it, until it hits close to home. Once it’s in our face, we want to submerge in anger and emotion. There needs to be a national discussion about how America handles racism and our favorite coined word; diversity. We cannot move forward until we deal with the sickness of the current situation. People must wake up! “Not our son, not our daughter,” was the main chant during the our Dream Deferred March. Lets make this a reality, not just a chant. Listen and look closely; history is repeating itself and we are spectators suffering on the sidelines.
Our dear sister, author, activist and poet Maya Angelou shares her thoughts on the verdict. ” A number of people think that only blacks were hurt, that African Americans were hurt by this decision, but that is not true. All you have to do is look at the protesters; they are white and black, Spanish-speaking and Asian. What is really injured, bruised, if you will, is the psyche of our national population. We are all harmed. We are belittled, and we give to the rest of the world more ammunition to sneer at us. It really makes me feel how far we have to go, that one man armed with a gun can actually profile a young man because he is black and end up shooting him dead. It is so painful.” To our brothers and sisters and community at large: We must change our mentality, turn our thoughts into actions, and choose to love and respect each other.
Contributing writer Jaqueline Penhos is a San Diego, CA Community Advocate for 100 Strong and, a writer for Front Free Newsletter.