Derek Chauvin was found guilty yesterday of all three charges against him in the killing of George Floyd. We celebrated and cheered. But then we learned that on this same day, as we tweeted and cried and shared hugs of victory, 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was killed by police in Columbus, Ohio. Not to mention that we still haven’t had the time to process the police shooting of Daunte Wright last week.
Every human being is created honorable, so no matter the race of the victim nor the status of the one who commits the crime, the punishment for the taking of an innocent life should be equal and swift. Allah says in Qur’an “ whoever takes an innocent life, it will be as if they killed all of humanity; and whoever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of humanity.”
Daunte Wright. Freddie Gray. Sandra Bland. George Floyd. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Trayvon Martin.
Our fingers grow heavy at the task of writing a list of names such as those above. These are but a few of our brothers and sisters who we mourn collectively, and that we are even aware of. The senseless death of our people is sad and we are surely entitled to mourn, hold space for our feelings, and celebrate their short lives and their humanity that was ignored by their fellow countrymen.
But for our community, no matter how heavy our hearts, we know that these deaths are not surprising nor shocking. Every year we brace ourselves for another senseless murder in our community. We know that for centuries, our people have succumbed to the same types of savage killings that we see today. The only difference is that their deaths were enshrined in black and white photographs that their killers shared on postcards and magazines, while today these brutal attacks are captured on video and shared millions of times, all around the world. However, we we must avoid becoming numb to these issues.
Black people: we must have a different response this time. We owe it to ourselves and to the countless number of Black men and women who died without a march or a hashtag or without even so much as a gravestone. Let’s not magnify our vulnerability, or beg not to be killed. We must go inward as a people, and build such a strong community of powerful, influential individuals, that no man or woman would dare be so foolish as to harm one of us.
Capitalism is the oil that keeps the gears of American civilization running — not compassion. Appealing to the senses and the humanity of this racist power structure will never deliver us from evil. It is simply an act of knocking on the wrong door. It will never work.
As a community, we have the skills, the capital, and the manpower to create a reality where we are collectively a national and international economic superpower. All we need is the mindset.
Fortunately, you can start where you are, today, and begin to make the kind of real changes that will save our communities. Wherever possible begin to source your daily needs from Black people. If you notice that there are no Black people that provide a good or a service, gather together with family or friends and start that business. And if you’re in a place today where you don’t have a dime to do either, share this article instead of a video or an article that depicts injustice or the killing of your brother or sister. Do it for all the people who have died and for those who have yet to come. Do it for yourself.