“A riot is the language of the unheard.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have never understood riots. I have never understood destroying property, vandalizing vehicles and looting stores. I have never understood the violence.
I am angry. I am frustrated. I am overwhelmed. I am sad. I am tired. I am hurt.
I want this to stop. I wanted this to stop in 1992 when they beat Rodney King in the streets of LA. On video. I wanted this to stop in 1999 when Amadou Diallo’s body was filled with 19 bullets. I wanted this to stop in 2006 when Sean Bell was killed the morning of his wedding. I wanted this to stop in 2012 when Trayvon Martin’s life was cut short because of a lunatic’s “suspicions.” I wanted this to stop in 2013 when Jonathan Ferrell needed help but got the death penalty instead. I wanted this to stop in 2015 when Sandra Bland went to jail for a minor traffic violation and came home in a box.
I remember every single one of these incidents. I remember the pain I felt as the narratives unfolded. I remember the questions I had. And I remember wondering why. Why does this keep happening?
It has to stop. I need it to stop.
But it hasn’t.
And now it has hit home.
The war zone is Charlotte. A mere 45 minutes from my hometown. The city I was in on Sunday as well as Tuesday night – the night the city erupted over the fact that once again a black man was dead and the police was behind the trigger.
Police said he had a gun. Witnesses and family say he did not. To me, none of that truly matters. What really matters is why? Why are police always shooting to kill US? Why has execution by cop become the norm? Why are we not given the same treatment as Dylan Roof and the NYC bomber who had a shootout with the cops but lived to tell us all about it?
Why do I have to fear whether or not my brothers, cousins, nephews, father and friends will return to their homes daily? I pray for them every day but rarely am I worried that they will get into an accident or be at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, I do fear them interacting with a cop who may see them as nothing more than target practice.
You want to know why people are rioting? Scroll back up to the top and read the quote again. People are rioting because they are tired. People are rioting because they are frustrated. People are rioting because they are angry. People are rioting because they are fearful. People are rioting because they are scared. People are rioting because the justice system keeps handing out injustices to black people like parking tickets. People are rioting because even when we are peaceful, we are not heard. People are rioting because of systematic oppression. People are rioting because they have been pushed out of their comfort zones due to gentrification. People are rioting because they are tired of being viewed as less than a human. People are rioting because very few are taking the time to listen. People are rioting because violence is all they know. People are rioting because violence is what they have been taught. People are rioting because the people who swore they would serve and protect are the ones they need protection from.
That is why Uptown Charlotte looks like ground zero.
I do not condone rioting. I do not believe it is the answer to the problems. I do believe it makes it even harder to find common ground with those who have no grasp of the issues.
But when you have tried everything else and it falls on deaf ears then the language of the unheard shouts back LOUDLY.
Can you hear them now?
#PrayForCharlotte #PrayForNC #PrayForPeace #PrayForTheWorld