Today my heart is extremely heavy, but I am not defeated. In this moment where we feel that all hope is lost (again) is when we truly must look to those who came before us for strength. No one GAVE my ancestors anything; they had to fight for it. They fought with their words, and their spirits, and their lives. And we will continue to fight. I will continue to fight. Because there are no other options, we are all we have. Sometimes, especially now with what feels like an all out assault on every type of civil liberty, it seems like we might not be enough. I know, I feel it too. The knowledge that even as we progress and take steps forward, someone, somewhere is already plotting its demise. It becomes overwhelming that there are people out there in positions of power who do not–and may never–understand justice.
I know that I will not squander Trayvon’s memory and I will not forget. I said earlier today on twitter something that I truly believe in. It’s these feelings right now–anger, despair, uncertainty, fear and sorrow—that will be our fuel for the grueling road ahead. It was never about the verdict. A conviction would not have brought Trayvon back nor would it have brought anyone any real peace. The problem is that we live in a society where there is a lack of value placed on Black life. It is about the hundreds of Black and Brown children who are being murdered in the inner cities, where no one in power seems to care at all. Every life is precious, and every life should matter regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or whether or not one chooses to wear a hoodie in the rain.
Even with everything that has happened, I believe in the law. It is not perfect, and it needs work but I believe in the concept: a blind Lady Justice with her scale and sword. I don’t believe in a biased and prejudicial implementation of the law where it takes a national outcry to even have a trial for the Zimmermans of the world. Where Trayvon’s killer will walk free but the Black woman who fired warning shots will get 20 years in jail. What it is hard to believe in, is people.
When the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its ruling on the Voting Rights Act, I was sure all hope was lost. I asked my mom how people hold onto hope in such trying times and she said something to me that has gotten me through the last two weeks. She said, “the only rights you will have are the ones you are prepared to fight for,” nothing has changed. It was that way during legalized slavery, during Jim Crow, and it remains that way today. My generation cannot sit by and rest on the laurels of our ancestors who fought and DIED for our freedoms. We must continue to advance the cause of justice forward, lest we give those who wish to imprison us (mentally and physically) time to catch their breath.
When I feel completely overwhelmed as I do now, I talk to my mom. She hasn’t let me down yet. Paraphrasing some of the most relevant things she’s told me over the years, I want to end with this.
Sometimes all we have the strength to do is hold the line. We may not be able to push justice forward, but we can never allow it be rolled back; we owe that to the dead, and we owe it to the future. And we cannot give up, we can’t go down without a fight: Be a moving target. Be a moving target today. Be a moving target tomorrow. Be a moving target always. Individually, we may not be able to fix the world, but we can make a difference. What you choose to do with your life matters; and it matters to all those who will never have the chance to choose. Find a cause and fight like hell for it. Onward.