Black Lives and Why They Matter

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Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

[Martin Luther King Jr.]

 I remember when I was young MLK & Rosa Parks were two of my heroes, their fight for justice drove me to search out what justice truly looked like. I dreamed of having a voice like them one day. I dreamed of justice, not something that’s served but something that’s fought for.

I listened to him tell about how some mornings he goes hungry but that “it’s okay because I am used to it.” He begged to stay here, he looked forward to every meal and he saw how my world contrasted his. I suddenly was hit by the injustices that are talked about on the news or read about in some magazines or broadcast by organizations looking for donations. This little love of mine goes hungry some mornings, but it’s okay because he’s used to it. He’s not privileged to wealth that will ensure filled fridges and cupboards and bellies; because he was born here and somehow he tries to make sense of these inequalities.

 I am overwhelmed by the thought that maybe, just maybe if they had been born somewhere else in the world they would have had a better chance.  They might be a small boy band or given a fair education and fed 3 meals a day. Maybe they would not have to fight the demons of having  father who spends his money on alcohol and beats their mother. Maybe he would not act out if he had a father who stuck around to teach him to be a man. If only they were not born here.

I peeked in the dark room and waited for my eyes to adjust to the light.  He was laying on a small mattress and as I listened to his slow responses, I caught a glimpse of his ribs through his shirt and blinked back the tears that wanted to come. I was sure i could have touched death that evening, it was sitting in the corner of the room waiting to claim another Ugandan life due to the corrupt healthcare system.  My knees met the floor that night, I cried myself to sleep believing death would win, that darkness would swallow him and the morning would never come.  He was still breathing the following day and because of donors I have seen a transformation unlike any other.  Just yesterday I watched him laugh until he cried recalling a story of stolen fried chicken and sneaking into the VIP section at a soccer game, and I thought: the world could have lost this, this storyteller and strong-willed soul.

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And these injustices are not just in Africa, but in our own land of freedom. We must acknowledge that children living in America are still discriminated against; they go to sleep hungry and wake up to go to a school that babysits instead of teaches because class rooms are overcrowded and underfunded. It’s knowing that children in the inner cities are still dodging bullets while the privileged shouts “look how many you have killed, Black Lives Matter!” they miss the point. They miss that mothers are still fighting for their children’s rights to survive, to those mothers it’s not black and white; it’s just their babies lives and the lack of resources provided by a land of freedom.  Justice is not walking freely; justice is caged and waiting for people not to be silent.

 

The part that is missing from the media stories is that black lives are the future and we are losing precious souls to malaria and unclean water and unwarranted shootings and gang violence.  They are souls of potential and beauty.  Their bravery and fight and joy flows from broken places to tell a glorious story and it’s not over yet.  Black lives matter and the longer we wait in silence, the more injustice seeps into the fabric of the earth as the norm.  It’s not the norm and we can do better.

I try to make sense of the injustices and where to go from here. We stand and we fight race issues and world issues and the injustices that prevail and we must know it’s true; black lives matter. We have unresolved issues and injustices that are bigger than us and I wonder how we will ever make sense of it all. The world is made of more than inequalities though, it’s filled with warriors and overcomers and peacemakers and we will fight for harmony.

Inequality is a beast that still roams free and if we are silent in our apathy long enough we will eventually hear it’s roar.  Let’s only be silent long enough to hear their stories, then let’s follow after those childhood dreams that justice belongs to everyone.  I have heard the voiceless and I have worked with the voices and I know that there is a better day if we keep fighting in love and hope.

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Hold on loves, Justice is coming.

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