Back in 1979 my 5th grade class belted out the song We Shall Overcome during the school's annual Black History assembly.* We sang this song in honor of the civil rights struggle that preceded my generation 10 years earlier. Fast forward 34 years later, I woke up thinking have we overcome? The year is now 2013 and a 17 year old boy is senselessly murdered because an assailant's prejudices said this boy has to be criminal, for no other reason but the color of his skin. It had nothing to do with the hoodie, white kids wear hoodies all the time; it had to do with this boy being black and nothing more! While we all know the story very well, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to sing another song? Are we going to hold vigils? or Are we going to finally stand the f*ck up and say that's it AmeriKKKa, I'm done being your whipping race for all races; don't get it twisted the white race is not your only opponent. Look at George's mother and uncle, trust and believe they too would have thought that Moreno Trayvon was up to no good!
To the critics who think Black America is being hypersensitive again, let me just give you a timeline of what's happened in my generation that I can vividly recall.
1982 - Willie Turks - A subway car maintenance worker beaten by a white mob in Brooklyn.
1984 - Eleanor Bumpers - 66 year old woman shot and killed by police ordering her from an eviction.
1986 - Michael Griffith - Killed after being hit by car while running from a group of whites in Howard Beach.
1989 - Central Park 5 - Five innocent Black and Puerto Rican kids convicted of gang rapping a white woman. These kids ranged from the ages of 13-17 and had nothing to do with the rape. Yet they were crucified the minute they were illegally apprehended.
1991 - Rodney King - Savagely beaten by four police officers, who were later acquitted on criminal charges.
1997 - Abner Louima - Sodomized by a NYC police officer after being arrested outside a Brooklyn nightclub.
1998 - James Byrd - Head and arm severed as he was dragged behind a pickup truck by 3 white supremacist.
1999 - Amadou Diallo - New Guinea immigrant shot 41 times by police.
2006 - Sean Bell - Killed after he and his friends were shot 50 times by New York city police officers, all were acquitted.
2012 - Trayvon Martin - 17 year old gunned down by neighborhood watch who thought Travyon looked suspicious.
1988 - 2012 - Various black teens gunned down based on Stand Your Ground Law.
Again this timeline is what I can vividly recall, I haven't include the countless other racially victimized cases, nor the plethora of black woman incarcerated for 20 years plus for drugs they didn't even have. In my lifetime if I can recall 10 incidents and there are plenty more, clearly there's a problem.
For those who are chanting "Let it be" and asking us to respect the judicial process, I have to respond are you f*cking kidding? Where were these chants when OJ was acquitted? Sometimes I think we're getting paid back for OJ, but wait a minute, you did get him! He's in prison for 15 years for "stealing" his own shit. George Zimmerman KILLS Trayvon Martin and nada, nope, nothing and you ask Black America why are you being sensitive?
I am tired, I am hurt, I feel deflated and have no confidence in this nation and our people. Yes you heard me right our people. I don't want to hear another press conference, I want action. I want to see the new Medgar Evers, the new Martin's, the new Malcolm's, the new Thurgood Marshall's, the new Nelson Mandela's. As a people we have become complacent and have striven off the backs of our past leaders. When they died the struggle should not have died with them. Just because the President and First Lady is Black does not mean we've made it, just because the top golfer, basketball player or lead media guru Oprah Winfrey are black doesn't mean WE made it. It means THEY made it. But as a people we are still unjustly treated in all spectrums. Why are we constantly the whipping race? Is it because we let ourselves get whipped? Think about it, what other race has endured our atrocities and refuse compensation. Answer is NONE. The Jews will milk anything related to the sacred Holocaust. The Japanese Americans another group who will seek compensation. Native Americans, need I say more. But black people we just get happy to get a job and then wonder why people treat us like shit. We're treated like shit because we don't demand being respected. We don't seek a justified apology for being robbed our culture, family, religion, language, etc. No, we take it lying down and sing a song, or have a march. NAACP where are you? One of those A's stands for Advancement, instead of paying homage to black celebrities, what are you doing about our inner city children, education, reducing the prison population, business empowerment, etc. If you're doing something, we can't see it, nor has it been working. You too need to step up your game!
Lastly, for my fellow Latinos, Puerto Ricans in particular I noticed many of you (not all) have been silent throughout this ordeal. Just because Zimmerman is part Hispanic does not make his actions right. If you're on his side just because Trayvon in your mind is a moreno, then you too you should be ashamed of yourself. Let me share with you a little secret, you're also Black! Read your history; Puerto Rico was comprised of Indian and African slaves and Spaniard slave masters. The Indians who couldn't handle the labor died off quickly, leaving African slaves to be RAPED by their masters. As a result the product of a Puerto Rican. You, mis hermanos and hermanas are mulattos. If you don't believe me just listen to Celia Cruz she's always paying homage to the Africano ancestors; better yet take a good look at your admiration for Jennifer Lopez and her backside; chicos and chicas that doesn't come from an Indian or Spaniard but pure Africano. Here's one last one do you like Congas? Guess what, Africano again!
Peeps wake up, reconstruct, demand respect of your leaders, the judicial system, your children, your elders. Black America you can NO LONGER sit down and think you're doing good. All rainbow of races are against you, it's time to demand your respect, self-worth and seek sustaining progress that is owed to YOU!
*Back in the day recitals were referred to as assemblies in inner city schools.