It is June 2 today.
As we progress through 2020, month by month, tensions in the United States continue to increase exponentially. Our country could be compared to a pressurized can being held just above a rapidly growing flame; perpetrators of injustice and vile murder as well as a corrupt and ineffective government continue to feed that flame without heeding the agonized cries of its victims.
Then, the can burst. Not just with a single, solitary “POP!”, but with an echoing boom that continues to reverberate with a growing ferocity within the tightening borders of our country.
The anguished voices of our black communities have cried out against inequality, racism, and the murder of their family members and neighbors for centuries. Generations upon generations of activists and regular folk alike have been marching, praying, and protesting for the freedom to simply exist without fearing for their safety. Our black brothers and sisters have cried out for our help for so long that they know many among us aren’t simply ignorant, but are instead actively ignoring — and in turn contributing to — their seemingly eternal plight.
When the black community once again took to the streets to peacefully protest the vile murders of their own at the hands of our supposed protectors, they were mocked and vilified by the conservative media as well as many they once considered friends and allies. And when peaceful protesters began to be harassed, attacked, and arrested for exercising their constitutional rights, this peace began to crack. If shopping centers, gyms, and mega corporations were so dearly loved by their oppressors, they would eviscerate these misbegotten products of capitalism that were built upon their backs to set an example.
This was simply too much for many. How dare human beings rally and fight for the rights granted unto them at birth? The idea of black people existing — much less thriving — in the United States is too disgusting a thought for many white “Americans.”
First, Covid-19 and “oppressive progressives” came for their god-given right to enjoy subpar bar food at their local Applebee’s. Then, black people burned down said Applebee’s to protest systemic violence and racism. That would prove to be the proverbial last straw.
Our faithful and persistent keyboard warriors have once again risen up to denounce the “evil, violent blacks” and their “destruction of American values.” Fervent supporters of our president, Donald J. Trump (referred to by many as our “racist in chief”), took to the streets with AR-15s in one hand and confederate flags in the other to “protect their communities.”
These individuals, armed to the teeth and seeking conflict, have been largely ignored by police departments and federal agents. Rioters are shot at while white instigators and undercover police destroy property without reason and escape back into their protective cocoon of self-avowed supremacy. Peaceful protesters have been teargassed, shot with rubber bullets, and arrested on sight for exercising their constitutional rights.
Tell me: where is the justice in this?
When will be look inside ourselves and admit our privilege and ingrained prejudices? When will we then denounce these AND actively work alongside our black brothers and sisters to ensure their safety and right to live with the freedoms and opportunities so many of us take for granted?
We must continue to support local and international protest efforts. Utilize your social media platforms to spread awareness about said efforts. Be an ally, friend, and confidant every single day, not just when it’s convenient or a trending hashtag.
2020 has been the year of unmitigated turmoil. We must harness this as a catalyst for uncompromising societal progression.
(As I write this, it is Pride Month in the United States. LGBTQ+ Pride is a societal privilege gifted to us by the pioneers of the modern Pride movement, many of whom were men and women of color. Some members of our community either don’t know this or simply don’t care; they endanger everyone along the LGBTQ+ spectrum by supporting our fascist president, regressive lawmakers, and bodies of law enforcement that actively work to undermine our safety all year long.
If we want to keep moving forward, we must stay educated about our past, celebrate our present, and continuously work towards a brighter future. We must educate the unaware and denounce those who embrace their inherent privileges with disregard to the health and safety of their fellow LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.)