Today I watched as another black man with his hands up begged for the police not to shoot him. Charles Kinsey, a behavioral therapist trying to protect his autistic patient.
When he asked the cop why he shot him, the response was I don’t know.
I. don’t. know.
I am not one to speak publicly about my views on this or that. Mostly because I think it's silly to assume anyone would ever change their thought process based on a status update of mine. But I also hear the words of Martin Luther King ringing in my head that "our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." And they beckon me to speak up. Even if no one cares, even if no one listens, even if friends and family disagree. There is already too much hate in this country, far more than my naive heart ever wanted to believe. I grew up in the "safety" of a community that looked, thought, and acted a lot like me. It made it quite comfortable and easy to be ignorant to the struggles of my fellow Americans right across the city divide.
This country was built on the principals that all men are created equal…
It has been exactly two years since I sat in my living room on my phone watching in absolute horror as four police officers pinned an unarmed father of six to the ground and choked him to death for selling unlicensed cigarettes. I sat there for what seemed like hours and wept bitterly as Eric Garner’s last words echoed over and over in my head,“I can’t breathe.” And just like that, my eyes were opened. Opened to this world of injustice that I never knew. Never wanted to know. But now that my eyes are opened, I cannot close them. I cannot unsee what I’ve seen.
Do I stand for #blacklivesmatter?
You bet I do.
Does this mean I am anti-cop?
I’m pro-cop. I’m pro-anyone who dedicates their lives to truly protecting the safety and freedom of others. But I am against individuals who abuse their power and authority out of hatred or fear. Whether they are cops, teachers, preachers, mothers, or politicians. I cannot and will not stand for the perpetuation of hate and fear.
It is our responsibility to wake up, open our eyes and see. Open our mouths and speak.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” –MLK