A More Important Prompt
We’re protesting for George Floyd, but are we really? Isn’t that the bare minimum? Isn’t it the bare minimum that when an officer murders a man, we don’t forget what justice looks like?
I think it is. I think too many people have eyes for this to go unpunished. Nationally. Globally.
But then what? They convict the officers (maybe) and we all talk about how we showed up that one time when it was obvious? We all make a show about how whenever Americans stand together, things change?
With the tear gas adrenaline gone, I think I’ll be more rational.
Eventually the news will harp on a different issue. Eventually what has happened won’t be the only important headline, and people will have to remember the name. The names. We’ve had hashtags before. We’ve had peaceful protests, and riots and triumphs and defeats, before. We have funerals.
But I think that maybe you can see this is bigger than George Floyd. What a terrible thing to say when a man’s murder is paraded for public display, but I think we can all see that this is bigger than George Floyd. This is about being Black in America. And Brown in America. About the minority experience that bleeds parallel whether Black, or Latinx, or Native American, or Middle-Eastern, or… This is about how dangerous it is to be UnWhite. How dangerous it is to exist.
This isn’t just about George Floyd.
It might have started with him, but this is about revolution. This is about continuing the revolution. This is about a generation of people vitalized by the stories of the heroes that risked their lives in the name of progress. The Kings, and Shakurs, and Hamptons. Men and women so brave that they stared at death without blinking. Wise enough to plant seeds that they would never see sprout. Who doesn’t want to be remembered? Who doesn’t find comfort in the notion that, my name too will live on after they’ve killed me; accidentally—for some reason or another. One day, we’ll get our peace.
But today, while I watched a video of a dog chewing on a protesting black boy, I noticed something; like a kind of generational déjà vu.
I ask you, haven’t we already had these protests? 60 years ago did my ancestors not shed enough blood for me to stand here and say, I don’t want to be the next Dr. King. I don’t want to be the next Shakur, or Hampton, or X. Because for every martyred legend there are a hundred forgotten hashtags, and I want to live.
I want to write stories, and to fall in love, and to fail and succeed and live long enough to die happily in my sleep. I want my Dreams to become realities, and my children to know what it feels like to choose their own destinies. I want justice as action and not merely abstraction. I want everyone to scream when I can’t breathe. The freedom to not feel like this is something that will ultimately kill me.
It’s important enough to.
We aren’t the same people that asked for equality all those years ago. We have sprouted. We are them and more. We have more to offer than just our blood and our lives, but if we have to shove Change along through the promise of a new generation, then we will. We have before.
Still, I think that maybe you can see this is bigger than George Floyd. I think, maybe the majority isn’t okay with what’s been happening? I think maybe people are seeing how ridiculous it is to have to push the same heavy boulder up the same steep hill, everyday?
So, I need us to VOTE. I need us to care after it’s not so easy to. I need protestors and poets and policy makers. Donations to righteous causes. I need those four officers imprisoned. I need incorruptible oversight for law enforcement, and no acts of injustice ignored. I need you to text “FLOYD” to 551-56. I need our elected officials to move beyond acknowledging the problems. I want solutions. I want to know if Trump will be held accountable for the damage he’s caused? I want to know why we’re 6 months into Armageddon, 4 trillion dollars in debt for the year, and amidst COVD-19 killing citizens, we’ve decided to relax the quarantine? Why we’ve given the abstraction of an economy more value than the individual lives the idea serves? Why it’s 2020 and we still vote like its 1787? Why prisons are privately owned? Why minorities are disproportionately affected? I need us to not be afraid to try and make things better.
Because if you only care right now, then you’re missing the point.