[insert picture of dead black man here]
I started yesterday like any other Monday. Got my son up and prompted him to prepare for school. Talked to my godson about his weekend. Kissed my boyfriend good morning and made his coffee. This is my routine.
Once everyone was off to work and school, I came home and posted a picture of my son from two years ago on social media and marveled at how much he had grown. He really is becoming a great young man. I thanked God for my blessings — the family I adore, the nice home, and being able to at least meet my financial needs with a job that I love in the industry I fought to break into. Then I took a nap before straightening up a bit and cooking dinner before going to work.
In the newsroom, we waited, knowing the set up of the past few weeks foreshadowed the outcome. I prayed that the reaction would not be what I already knew to be inevitable. We put the story on the page, and went to print. This is journalism.
Inside, I crashed. Damn, here we go again.
Here we go with our pictures and statuses, watching businesses burn in our neighborhoods that probably will not be able to rebuild without community support because insurance does not cover civil unrest. Here we go letting people call this a verdict when there was never a trial. Here we go with a few white people deciding that black people are paranoid over nothing, that we all ask for it by killing each other and having abortions. Here we go with a few black people starting fires and throwing rocks at reporters who are just trying to do their jobs in a volatile environment at 3am. Here we go, missing the point again.
The point is a man got on the city bus this morning in Missouri thinking that he was going to work, only to find that there was no business and no job. He still has to feed his family.
The point is our justice system is so broken that yesterday a white man learned that he doesn’t even have to go to trial for killing a black teenager, but a black teenager was sentenced to 20+ years in prison for killing a dog.
The point is Marissa Alexander had to take a plea deal to get out of prison for shooting a gun in the air in her home to ward off her abuser, but George Zimmerman can walk free after killing Trayvon Martin because he wanted Skittles.
The point is I sent my son, godson, and boyfriend out into this same environment this morning, and I pray nothing escalates to the point that they don’t make it home.
The point is there is a problem, and looting, destruction and violence hinder the solution. It changes the headline from Mike Brown’s murderer not charged to Violence and mayhem in Ferguson. In fact, I watched the headline change with my own eyes on the AP wire last night. And, unfortunately, today I have to put the story in the paper.
Violence does nothing to honor the dead. It does nothing to ensure the legacy of Mike Brown, who also never got a chance to be charged with the crime he was accused of, who never got a chance to go to the college where he was accepted, who never got a chance to give his mother a daughter-in-law or grandchildren, who will not eat turkey this Thanksgiving or open a present at Christmas. If he did steal those cigars, he never got a chance to redeem himself.
Let’s value one another enough to actually come up with solutions, and focus our energy on our families and the communities that desperately need us to show up for more than rallies and funerals. Let’s show up to class, show up to work, show up as leaders in our homes. Men, show up to value women and children. Women, show up to value men that face this broken system everyday to provide and protect us. Children, show up to value and honor your parents, teachers and elders.
All, show up to value the example of Jesus, who spoke truth to power, was crucified that we may have a prosperous future and a chance at heaven and left us with a legacy of resurrection.