Before any fire can start, there must first be a stimulant. A fire is the result of a chemical reaction after carbon dioxide, water vapor, oxygen and nitrogen come together in a process called combustion. When a fire roars our bodies feel an intense burn from the heat it gives off. Our eyes are mesmerized by the orange and yellow colors that are reflected by a fire’s sparks and flames. Our noses are engulfed with the smell of smoke that we inhale as a fire pollutes the air with the various chemicals that are needed to cause it to blaze. From a vapor of smoke when it starts to the flames of amber and orange, as it gets stronger, a fire leaves nothing but destruction and devastation until it burns out.
Black America is burning with pain and has been burning for years. Like a fire that needs fuel to ignite the flames, the fuel for Black America’s fire is anger. Anger that has been burning the depths of the inside of the human body for years. Anger that stems from being kidnapped from the homeland of Africa more than 400 years ago. Anger that boils from being made to work in fields and under unruly and backbreaking conditions. Anger from being whipped, hung, and treated like less than a human. Anger from having rights taken away and being told everyone is equal when in fact everyone is separated. Anger from having less that adequate access to fair housing and healthcare. Anger from being stripped of their given name, soul and all hope of better future. Anger from being the victims of a broken justice system that rather have a Black person locked up than reformed. Anger from broken promises of being told year after year that things were going to change only to have things remain the same. Anger from living in a society where justice for all does not include Black America. Anger from having to add another name to the list of Black brothers and sisters senselessly killed by that of a police officer or misguided white man. Anger that it is a crime to do anything while being Black. Anger from those who say racism is dead when it is very much alive and real. Anger from being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Now we all are so angry we can’t breathe.
Black America’s anger has turned into a raging fire of pain for all to be felt. Black America’s pain should be everyone’s pain because any and every threat to justice somewhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Now as the voices of Black America are the loudest that they have been before, I ask, “Do you feel the burn of the fire?”
George Floyd, our George Floyd. He grew up here and walked the streets of Third Ward, TX. Houston can stake claims on the Jack Yates High School product. The gentle giant made impressionable imprints wherever he went. He was one of us. He posed no threat. He was just a simple man living life as he sought the riches of the American dream of peace and prosperity. In the pursuit of al things good, Floyd made his way to the land of bread and butter in search for some “bread” of his own only to have his life cut short in 8minutes and 46 seconds by men who vowed to serve and protect.
Floyd’s death was unusually cruel and so horrible that mere words can’t describe the horrific nature of it all. Further insult was added to his death when all parties had not been charged with his murder. Plus, the report of the medical examiner trying to assigned blame Floyd’s death to previous conditions he had and not the fact that a human brace his knee on Floyd’s neck cutting off his oxygen supply. Another slap came when the FBI called for more video footage and the President of the United States not showing any empathy at all.
Although George Floyd is not the first Black man to be wrongfully murdered by police and sadly probably won’t be the last, his ruthless death has caused a Black rising across the world for justice. Thousands have flooded streets marching, protesting, and demonstrating demanding a change in the justice system. Almost overshadowing the peaceful rallies are the acts of destruction and looting defiling cities and ruining businesses.
As a Black American, I understand the pain. As a human being, I understand the hurt. I can relate to being so angry that the notion of what to do to solve the problem fails to have entered the mind. However, the tearing down of the placing called home and the businesses that support the area are not the way to go. Although businesses can be replaced and lives can’t. Obliterating these entities only sets the community further back, especially in the already underserved Black communities. The prices of goods will go up. Taxes will go up. Businesses may or may not be able to reopen. Burning up a grocery store leads to Black neighborhoods becoming food deserts. Torching a bank leads to an already depleted Black economy and robs the dreams of future Black entrepreneurs.
A more constructive way to demand change and redirect frustrations over injustices is to use your power resourcefully. Don’t destroy your city. Change your city. Black people have incredible power and if used properly real change may be a reality.
Change it with the power of Black vote. Historically Black America has a track record of not showing up at the polls. Use the anger to make sure everyone is registered to vote and follow up to ensure everyone goes to the polls to cast their vote. Channel your voting power to put those in office who best represent the interest of people of color and kick those who don’t out of office. As the political faces changes, let those legislators know what you want, hold them accountable, and work with them and not against so the Black voice is always in their ears.
Change it with the power of the Black dollar. Nothing speaks louder than that of the American dollar. Banned together to not patronize those businesses that do not support justice reform. Share with others about experiences of mistreatment of minorities. Make complaints and put on record the bad practices of businesses. When business owners see how powerful the Black dollar is they are sure to change their tune.
Change it with the way you believe and exercise your higher power. For those who believe in a higher power you know how prayer can change things. Prayer can open doors that were once closed. Prayer can change minds and thought processes. Prayer can cause a shift in the outcome of situations. Prayer will help you stand so you won’t fall for anything.
Change it with the power of the Black voice. Make others understand the problems Black America faces. Hopefully the Black voice can open up the minds of others to give them the prospective they need to understand and see. Raise your voice to identify the problems to those in authority. Collaborate with you voice to create effective ways to bring about progress.
Change is required for all America to stop the burning of Black America. Stop supporting the broken systems of America. Stop turning a blind eye to racism. Black America can no longer be victims of the injustices of the world. Skin color should not be a threat or the source of a death sentence. The poison of racism has filled our world for far too long. It is suffocating and cutting our oxygen supply. We can’t breathe.
Before ending this article, I must recognize the good police officers out there that are doing their jobs as they were trained without racial bias. Thank you for staying true to your vows of protecting and serving all of those within your jurisdiction.
Every action deserves a reaction. Black America has seen enough wreckage and carnage to last us a lifetime. Take the ashes of our pain and create a real, long lasting change. Help stop Black America’s pain. Stop Black America from burning with pain.