As the country erupts in protest in the aftermath of the murder of yet another black American by the police, we reflect upon the state of our nation, what has led us to this point, and how we move forward.
What we are witnessing are the symptoms of systemic racism, discriminatory policies, and reliance on excessive force that disproportionately harm the black community. The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, the War on Drugs, and mass incarceration remains alive and well, which is why it must be confronted in a methodical and sustainable way. Obfuscating this truth with “color-blindness” is a form of privilege, and the onus is upon all non-black people to confront this reality and dedicate ourselves to eradicating any and all internalized notions of anti-blackness within us.
It is of critical importance that we work to cultivate long-lasting solidarity that transcends performative, reactionary politics, in order to address this issue. We must develop an ethics of compassion and deep empathy towards our black brothers and sisters, and reject negative portrayals of protests that aim to obscure fundamental inequities that have given rise to such protests. We acknowledge that anti-black oppression is painfully intersectional and undermines all of us, and we commit ourselves to supporting transformative justice and building a world that is equitable for all peoples, especially black communities.
Black parents should not have to live in fear that their children will become a hashtag. Black men should not need to wear bullet-proof vests when jogging. Black people should not worry about being arrested for bird-watching.
We cannot all continue being complicit in a reality in which black murders are explicable, black narratives are erasable, and black bodies are expendable. This is certainly not the reality that we can allow our future generations to live in. We must unshackle ourselves from the confines of ignorance and privilege, center the voices of black people, and work to cultivate an America that is truly representative of all of its citizens.
While we are cognizant that this challenge cannot possibly be fixed quickly or by any one person or organization, we at Emgage are more dedicated than ever to empowering voters to realize the change that we all seek by turning out a record number of voters, advocating for real policy changes, and supporting the right candidates for public office.
For more resources on how we can all work to tangibly eradicate this disease from our world, please see the resources listed here.
CEO of Emgage Action