In a now legendary speech, our Ancestor Frederick Douglass said that “Negroes will be hunted at the North and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages and make no resistance, either moral or physical…If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.”
When Minnesota resident Philando Castile was murdered on Facebook live by a police officer, the State and the Nation refused to take action. In fact, all officers involved were acquitted of all charges.
When Kentucky resident Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her own home by police officers serving a no-knock warrant against the wrong target, the State and the Nation refused to take action.
When Wisconsin resident Jerry Smith Jr. was shot with his hands up, the State and the Nation refused to take action.
Like in Minnesota, Kentucky, and Milwaukee, Black community members have cried out against police brutality for decades. When those cries were not heard, we organized. And when our efforts were thwarted, our moral resistance became a physical one.
Leslie Redmond, president of Minneapolis NAACP, gave events of this week a little more historical perspective. “What you’re witnessing in Minnesota is something that’s been a long time coming. I can’t tell you how many governors I’ve sat down with, how many mayors we’ve sat down with. And we’ve warned them that if you keep murdering black people, the city will burn. We have stopped the city from burning numerous times, and we are not responsible for it burning now.”
So when the President of the United States says that protests are no way to honor the memory of George Floyd, he demonstrates a lack of empathy and respect for the frustration that the Black community has experienced for decades.
In all of the above cases, and many many more, white governments have turned a deaf ear to the cries of the brutalized masses. And when they do give us any lip service at all, they take away justice by acquitting or ignoring the crimes of the guilty white supremacist agents.
In cities across the United States, the Black community has risen up. We have demonstrated that we are willing to fight back in our own way.
We are showing the world that there are consequences for regimes that refuse to acknowledge our humanity.
The white supremacist media is doing everything in their power to control the narrative unfolding on the ground by blaming all violence and looting on “out of town protesters”. This is a false narrative that attempts to undermine grassroots action. And as Pan-Africans we understand and expect our comrades to come to our aid as a show of solidarity.
We understand that an attack on one part of the Black community is an attack on all Black communities.
So before you allow white supremacist media and government officials to control how you respond to injustice, remember the words of our Ancestor Frederick Douglass…
Make a choice. Take a stand.
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