Where do I start in verbalizing the pure disgust I feel after watching the institutionalized racism, sexism, classism and power issues of what I just saw before me? I don’t know where to start so I will first start with a picture of the faces of Occupy Oakland.
These are the faces of a community that showed up to represent the rights of those who have fallen into the traps of a money hungry, capitalistic society that takes away from the masses and forgets the poor. Oakland is such a place.
The inner cities of Oakland know what it is like to have disparity, to live it daily and continue to exist in a society that is unfair, not empathetic and absent in the everyday struggle of the underserved. They often are the forgotten.
The fight of Occupy Wall Street across the nation represents some of the very struggles that minorities have suffered with for generations, often we are conditioned to believe this is “just life” for us. Is it something you protest to change? This is a question that Black people will continue to have to ask themselves, our history tells us a story that is very similar. When do we settle for what we are handed and when do we look at the desensitization that has happened to our people? Now might just be the time.
It makes news coverage when there are non-minorities that are fighting for the same rights that Black people have had to and still fight for. Would this be news if it were just the Black faces of our Oakland communities? Would the public assume that these were just out of control thugs that were rioting and need to be controlled? The coverage and opinions of the Oscar Grant demonstrations would tell us yes; is that because the face on all the posters made it easier to dismiss the brutality that was caused in the streets from law enforcement? Is it different today because those faces were a little more diverse in the crowd? I think so and while it brings attention and understanding to sensitive issues that need to be exploited, it is quite painful to know and come to terms with.
I do not know how to walk in a society where we continue to treat others as second hand citizens and without the basic rights of safety inside of our own community. Police threw tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets into a mostly peaceful crowd because they wouldn’t follow orders and did not know their place. We were only missing the big water hoses to spray them down with, like they did in the 1960’s.
Maybe it is time to have the needs of all people help to make change that we alone have not been able to institute, we are larger in numbers and brothers and sisters of all races are feeling the incredible disparity of today’s society. I honor all the struggles of people here and I also honor that this has been the struggle of my ancestors for a very long time. I am not different and this struggle is mine as well.
What the law showed us last night in the streets of Oakland was that there is no tolerance, no human rights and no such thing as protection under the law. It is comfortable to think that things have changed but have they really or is it wealth that determines basic human rights in this society instead of pigment now. How about both? Can you deal with that? I can’t.
Last night we got to see a glimpse of the war that we have been struggle to overcome in live, violent, unbelievable action. Last night they were not fighting the establishment, we were all fighting ourselves; looking in a mirror and throwing a tear gas container at the reflection of our children. We have to fix this and this cannot be acceptable for my community, my Nation and my children.
To wrap this up, I think it is fitting to look at the images that are circulating the news and reflect on where we have come from. I hope it is not a reflection of where we are going. And we must remember, the revolution will now be televised; lets make it count. The struggle continues….