Remember, Remember More Than Just the 5th of December….Boyd, Martin, Bell, Diallo, Hampton, and Thousands of Forgotten Black Youth Killed by the Police
I have taken a quote from V for Vendetta and applied it to what I have currently been feeling lately. I hope it is useful in adequately articulating how I perceive the Trayvon Martin case, but also my take on how Black Youth are treated in 21st Century America. To be clear, this blog is written into the quote from the movie, in a historically satirical fashion. I hope it offers some insight into how movements are formed and how injustice must not be forgotten by the new internet fad of the week. We ultimately have found ourselves at the precipice of a choice to remember or to forget, not just about Trayvon Martin, but about thousands of black youth that have died before this year, in which we have already forgotten their names and their stories. I hope our memories do not fail us once again. The 5th of December is the day after Fred Hampton was killed, one of the most famous examples of a black young person being murdered by the police in this country. They STILL don’t teach about this in school and many of us have forgotten about this crucial historical moment. December 5th to me represents how long it takes to forget about the murder of those who are innocent.
“Good evening, (Black)America. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I have sipped the sweet wines of capitalism and indulged in the beneficiaries of those who are marginalized abroad. I regretfully, yet honestly, enjoy the privileges that I have somehow and mistakenly stumbled upon.
However, in the spirit of commemoration for those significant proceedings of history that are habitually related to someone’s death, I think we need to take a step back and return to the roots of struggle. I think we need to take a step back from Travoyn, Kony, Memes, Facebook updates, Instagram notices, Twitter Hashtags and any other recent new media fads that allows us to all feel as though we’re informed or being “active” in the society around us. In the spirit of commemoration I think we should immediately not mark this day or week or month or year, but we should mark this era one in which we take a little time to sit down and have a conversation about those very things that people say we shouldn’t talk about. I want to discuss the very evils of America that constantly get ignored.
I thought we could mark this era, the time in which we remember. I fear that through all of these events two weeks from now we will have forgotten about Travoyn, the same way we have forgotten about Shawn Bell, Amadou Diallo, Rekia Boyd or Fred Hampton.
There are of course those who want to remember, but for some reason we never do. And there are of course those who do not want us to speak nor remember. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while force, institutionalized racism, stereotypes, and justifications may be used in lieu of conversation to justify murder, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?
Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression, inequality and murder. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have the distraction of the facebook timeline and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, brutality. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the very system that continues to kill Black Youth.
They promised order and peace, and all they want in return is our silence and obedient consent.
We can no longer be silent. Now, more than ever, we need a movement of Youth who speak for themselves and are determined to re-establish the values of justice, equality and opportunity for all. Our Youth have been killed for the last three hundred years and while there have been movements in the past, unfortunately we are more prone to forget, than to remember.
So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this system remain unknown to you then I would suggest you continue to forget. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me and speak up for black youth.” (lol to see the actually V for Vendetta quote and more quotes from the movie click here)