I am doing a lot of things this week as I process the murders of black people at the hands of police and the range of societal reactions to it.
I am grieving.
I am praying for continued strength for the families and communities of those murdered. And by strength, I do not mean the ability to easily carry the heaviest of burdens, but simply to be able to hold on and repair.
I am contextualizing, knowing the latest publicized incidents of systemic racial violence is just a sample of what happens on a regular basis to black communities across the U.S. when we encounter police. This is not my opinion. These are facts backed by data.
I am remembering the history of police violence as a tool for upholding white supremacy in this country. Even when the cheap bandage of time passing is ripped away, I know no new incident is truly new. What has happened is only the latest documentation for the tragic historical record.
I am checking in on my friends and family who carry the pain of this history as well.
I am understanding the reasons behind the uprisings in cities across the U.S. The people in these communities all have their own stories and local histories of police violence. We can actually see these mapped out.
I am refusing to cosign on the policing and indiscriminate punishment of folks in rebellion. I know the militarization of cities will only result in more violent oppression in the name of ‘peace’ and protecting the status quo.
I am donating to activists on the ground in Minneapolis as I continue to support work at home in Chicago. I trust those working on the front lines of crises and at the grassroots level to effect change.
I am demanding accountability of the Minneapolis Police Department and all of the other institutions small and large who maintain a culture of terrorizing oppressed people. I am signing petitions and following organizations that protect people whose human and civil rights have been violated by law enforcement.
I am questioning if I am doing enough.
I am continuing to work with others towards the abolition of police and the abolition of prisons. I am not a leader, I am a follower, learning from and supporting those who have been working for decades towards dismantling these systems that perpetuate racial violence and undermine democracy.
Finally, I am trusting in the collective. I believe that those of us unapologetically committed to justice will grow in our ranks, continue to resist oppressive systems, and do all the work necessary to build the world we need and deserve. I remain hopeful, even in despair.
[Since, the original posting, this article has been updated with changed and added links. And I am also taking the streets when I can.]