We have come to yet another defining moment in history. While the deaths of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Philando Castille, and many others has brought undeniable pain and anger throughout our community, the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and now Rayshard Brooks has hit our community in somewhat of a different way. I will be the first to say that I am not okay, and over the past few weeks, I have experienced an array of emotions and lamented over the continuous murders of our black men, women, and children at the hands of law enforcement. Also, the social and economic injustices, disenfranchisement, and overt systemic racism that has plagued our community for far too long that must be done away with and the time is NOW.
The murder of George Floyd was/is the soul cry for Black America that racism and injustices will be no longer be tolerated and a wake-up call for America that you can no longer turn a blinds eye to the killing and destruction of a people. The pathway to change most often always start with protests, and many have taken place and continues to take place across the country and the world. The question for ALL OF US now becomes…What do I/WE do? We each have a responsibility as to how we leave our families, our communities, our society, and this world for the next generation and the generations thereafter. Silence is no longer an option.
“Black Lives Matter” is/has been the battle cry by our community and spoken by those who support us. However, making that statement and then do nothing does very little when it comes to meaningful change, because to be able to solve a problem(s), it must first be acknowledged there is one. So, what can we do individually and collectively? We must continue to the momentum initiated by the protests and follow up with developing a plan of action individually and/or collectively, outlining what we can to bring change starting with our respective communities. In addition, we must have open and honest dialogues with our families, friends, and colleagues about the systemic problems, in our society, neighborhoods, and the workplace and conscious and unconscious biases; call out any form of racism and discriminatory practices, and more importantly VOTE to have the representation that reflects your community, values and beliefs. As a result, we can begin to work together towards implementing a plan to dismantle the laws and systems that is and has been the root cause, one meaningful change at a time.
Finally, with a medical and social pandemic looming, America has reached a tipping point that must force a turning point, and it is my prayer and hope that each of us seek out what our hands are assigned to do in this season and pursue it in a logical, beneficial, and safe manner. All lives can’t matter until black lives do, socially, economically, and professionally! Stay safe!
LaShan L. Haynes