Revolution Ain’t a One Time Thing
Mike Brown is dead. He joins the legions of black bodies that have been killed at the hands of the white supremacist state. As of yesterday, Darren Wilson is free. He joins the legions of white men who have gone free after killing black boys. Put simply, Mike Brown was unjustly murdered due to racism in this country. Anyone who tells you otherwise or attempts to distract you with notions of “black on black crime” or “riots” is ignorant and lost. Not to say that they cannot be saved. But in a country that is so afraid to be honest with itself, it is imperative that we learn to be honest with ourselves.
In all honesty, I am sad, angry, but I am not in despair. I know my history too well to be in despair. Every time I grow sad, I remember that there was a time in this country where it was legal for my body to be sold on an auction block. A time when black people were corralled through the streets like dogs. I remember that people came before me and fought so that my life could be a little better. And indeed, our lives are a little better, though there is still work to be done.
All across this nation, people organized in protests against the non-indictment. To prove that we will not be defeated, my beloved comrades in the Black Youth Project 100 joined and lead collective efforts across this nation. Bridges were blocked, city halls and police headquarters were occupied, blogs were written, Facebook posts were shared, and chants abounded. These actions were spearheaded largely by young people. And these actions occurred in a time where we are called apathetic. In a time when people claim that we care more about sagging pants and iPhones than freedom and liberation.
I am not in despair, because I know that these efforts are part of a larger and more interconnected struggle. It is a white supremacist history that teaches us that revolution is a “one time thing.”It claims that the civil rights movement happened because Dr. King hiccuped and had a dream, and it changed the hearts and minds of people everywhere. But what we need to remember is that true change occurred because there were hundreds of acts of civil disobedience all across this nation. These acts congealed together to create a pressure so visceral that the state was so disrupted and internationally embarrassed that it had no choice but to make a change.
So yes, there was Trayvon Martin, and Rekia Boyd, and Mike Brown and and and—but let’s not think that the repeated and highly publicized acts of injustice are for naught. They are working together. The nation is finally at a point where it is beginning to discuss on a national, state, and local level the corruptness and incidences of state-sponsored police violence and the criminalization of Black People. The ball is rolling, and the pendulum is swinging. We just have to keep the momentum.
So as much as your heart can take it, continue to scream and shout. Arrive at every rally. Chant at every march. Mourn at every vigil. Learn at every teach-in. Occupy every institution. Share every Tweet and repost every video. Argue. Debate. Disrupt. Cry. Pray. Love.
We must do this because these efforts are working together to make our children’s lives a little better. These efforts are working together to make this country more accountable. Revolution is not a linear thing. It is cyclical. It is collective. And it is the collectively that works together. So I do not feel despair. I feel angry, I feel sad, and at times I feel like all is for naught. But I look deep inside myself and remember that there is reason I get out of my bed every morning. And I remember that someone before me braved hell and high water so that I could roll out of my bed and feel a little less pain. And I will do the same.