Ahmaud Arbery was a king who died on his throne. He was a young black male, unarmed, defenseless to the barrel of a shotgun who lost his life while taking a jog.
The number of young black men whose last moments of life include looking in the eyes of their white killers while they succumb to their last breath is a reality that Black America is sick and tired of.
I’ve attended protest after protest, rally after rally, action after action, a Million Man March and our brothers and sisters are still being murdered in cold blood.
Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Jordan Davis, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Kendrick Johnson, Botham Jean, Stephon Clark, Antwon Rose, EJ Bradford, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the countless other men who didn’t get their flowers from the media remain stored in our brains as we await the next murder of a Black man in America.
The truth is African-American men can’t be too much of a threat because if they were their oppressors would be an afterthought.
It seems as though enough is not enough. So I ask my brothers and my sisters how far are we willing to take this thing?
I ask our white progressive allies who want to be down are you willing to stand on the front lines for our lives? Because we have been standing for yours since your ancestors stole us from our land.
If you are White in America right now COVID-19 is your biggest fear, but for many of us the reality is that we are fighting for our lives in more ways than one.
Our men and boys can die from walking out of the house each day being Black in America as quick as they can from the coronavirus.
As a means toward progression we are told that we are in this thing together, but let’s face it. Black people are in this thing alone.
America has been pushing this lie that even it doesn’t believe.
We have never been silent, in fact our ancestors and freedom fighters paid a heavy price for us to speak up. And while we know that Black Lives never mattered to America, they indeed matter to us and we will continue to rock the boat.
Innocent Black blood is being shed and we have remained the beneficiaries of death, oppression and white supremacy for centuries.
Our young men are being thrust into the crosshairs of the world not because they are criminals but because society doesn’t value their lives. Their skin is not a sin, yet everytime we turn on the tv or log on social media we witness gunshots, blood and a lifeless body with some white man who pulled the trigger who has gotten to go home to his family.
As many of you wake up to preach social distancing and wonder which mask you are going to wear, some are burying their loved ones. Not because of an illness but because someone didn’t value a Black life enough for them to see another day.
It is your privilege to stand on street corners and at government buildings during a pandemic and shout for the opening of the economy while you worry about your business. And if all lives really mattered as they say then they would remember just how many lives they are risking right now as they advocate for opening back up.
But we know what we always have. That protesting and demonstrations are just fine, as long as Black lives aren’t in the picture. So when we are back in the streets fighting for justice, we won’t ask for your permission.
White America has continuously pushed us to our breaking point with no repercussions and when the chickens come home to roost we can’t save you. We won’t save you.
For too long you have told us that Black people are the purveyors of their own demise and we aren’t buying it anymore. Your conditioning will cease to render us defenseless.
When they called for 10,000 fearless what they meant was it is time to stand up. As other races seek unity among their own kind first, we must do the same. Our condition and lack of love has and will always be attributed to white supremacy.
When Ahmaud Arbery went to take a jog that day and Trayvon took that walk to the store, and Tamir Rice played in the park they were ours. And even though we may not be ripe to receive justice our voices and our boots on the ground can shake the earth.
In the words of Assata Shakur:
“We have been locked by the lawless, handcuffed by the haters, gagged by the greedy. And if I know anything at all, it’s that a wall is just a wall and nothing more at all. It can be broken down. I believe that a lost ship, steered by tired, seasick sailors can still be guided home to port”
Keep Fighting. This is for Ahmaud.
Angela Dennis is Editor of Black With No Chaser, Podcast host for Black in Appalachia and published Journalist specializing in socio-economic issues and race.