As this week commences I reflect on such an awful week. I’m filled with anger, animosity and heartache. I’m disappointed in humans, in so called friends, former classmates…teammates..the list goes on. I know I’m partially to blame though. I’m constantly expecting people to understand a life that they will never know or experience. We are living in two completely different worlds it seems.

It’s heart wrenching to see black bodies laid out in the street day after day, week after week, month after month and so many people have had nothing to say. The day you felt moved to open your mouth or twiddle your thumbs was when a video of target being destroyed surfaced. A store full of materialistic things that can be replaced. That was your breaking point. Not the human lives dropping left and right which cannot be restored. Not the peaceful protestors who were maced and provoked. It was the target.

” A riot is the language of the unheard.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

You say, “Rioting solves nothing. Why can’t people protest?” But we did. We have. Kaepernick was one of the most talked about protest as of recent. People whined, cried, called him out of his name and burned his jersey. He hasn’t been picked up by a team since. Reverend George Lee, Lamar Smith, John Earl Reese, Herbert Lee, Roman Duck, Paul Guihard, William Lewis Moore, Medgar Evers, Louis Allen… the list goes on. This is just a handful of names of individuals who were killed peaceful protesting during the Civil Rights Movement. I’m talking followed, hunted down and executed like animals. I mention these names because as these cities burn to the ground across the nation so many want to refer to the Civil Rights Movement. Everyone wants to speak about “Martin’s Way.” Martin Luther King Jr. quotes sprinkled all over social media like parsley. As if he wasn’t shot in the face for his peaceful protest. This man was m u r d e r e d for being peaceful. He didn’t fit the description of the black thug we are so often labeled as. He was well dressed, well spoken and educated. That shit didn’t matter though….clearly. Black people have been begging and pleading for basic human rights for YEARS and it still hasn’t been fulfilled. I’ve watched the media have more sympathy for a dog than a black man. Growing up, so often we thought that if we did all of the right things and presented ourselves a certain way that would gain us some respect. But then we watched the world demonize and degrade Barack and Michelle Obama. Two hard working, Ivy League graduates. It’s like no matter how you speak, how you dress or how many degrees you acquire “even if you in a Benz, you still a n*gga in a coupe.”

As a society we have laws, procedures and protocol that we are to follow in order for everything to work correctly. We have a system to keep everything balanced, but what happens when that system is not made to SERVE YOU. What happens when that system fails you over and over again? What happens when the people who took an oath to protect and serve neglect to do so?

Black people are in a State of Emergency. First we asked for it to stop, then we begged for it stop and now we are forcing it to stop. This uproar isn’t just about George Floyd. It’s about Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Philando Castille, Walter Scott, Terrence Crutcher, Trayvon Martin, Keith Childress, Bettie Jones, Tiarra Thomas, Jamar Clark, Alonzo Smith, Dominic Hutchinson and Keith McLeod. I could name 100 more people but it shouldn’t take that many to get the point. These riots make people uncomfortable and I believe that is the problem. Peaceful protest are easy to ignore. When people whined and cried about individuals sitting/kneeling during the National Anthem, those in the military let it be known that they fought for peoples right to do that. This target y’all were so torn up inside about shared their support for what is going on and said everything could be rebuilt. The black firefighter who owned that bar you all keep sharing (how black people don’t care about their own people and why target him) just exceeded his gofund me amount , so he will be able to rebuild and then some. It often makes me wonder if the truth is y’all just want us to be quiet in general. Like we are suppose to just be thankful we are no longer in shackles. As if modern day slavery isn’t a thing. Read the book The New Jim Crow or watch the documentary 13th. The black community is tired and people are fed up. Every day we are held accountable for every move that we make. We grow up being constantly reminded that we have to be twice as good. We do all of this knowing no matter our qualifications, talents or education our blackness will always enter these spaces first.

Racial and ethnic inequalities loom large in American society. Black people face structural barriers when it comes to obtaining quality housing, healthcare, employment, and education. Racial incongruity also permeates the criminal justice system undermining its effectiveness.

“For years we have examined how historical and ongoing public policies, institutional practices, and cultural narratives perpetuate racial inequalities and constrain mobility for communities of color.”

We are angry. We are livid. We are tired. We will not roll over, we will not turn the other cheek and we will not be silenced. Justice will not be served until individuals who are not affected have the same outrage as the people who are. It’s a time out for these backhand excuses and rebuttals. We will no longer accept mistreatment and scraps of the American Dream that our ancestors built for free.

“Do your job. Do what you say this country is supposed to be about. The land of the free for all. It has not been free for black people and we are tired. Don’t talk to us about looting, y’all are the looters. America has looted black people. America looted the native Americans when they first came here. So looting is what you do. We learned it from you. We learned violence from you. The violence is what we learned from you. So if you want us to do better, then damn it…you do better.”

Tamika Mallory