Baltimore, the home of the Wire is what most people acclimated the city to be about before.
Baltimore the home of the Freddie Gray Riots is the culmination of who you think we are now.
For starters, anybody who was there, and breathed it would never call it the Baltimore riots.
Let’s be clear on that.
It was an uprising.
The Baltimore uprising.
A series of riotous behavior did occur, I dont dispute that. Historically, it is the culture of who we are but compared to some other instances, what was shown here was minimal and that behavior was no where near the sum of all parts.
I know, because I saw it. I experienced the truth of it and I have been writing about it every since. I have gone through a multitude of thoughts and emotions.
By now, most have seen the video of Freddie Gray screaming in pain as he was viciously dragged to a police van. I still can’t watch the video. When I see it played over and over again on news media outlets, I quickly search for my remote control to change the channel. It rattles my bones. It hurts me deep down inside, and it makes me so uncomfortable.
I realize that the whole of Baltimore felt this same rattling, and discomfort, and it reacted. Some with anger, some with protest, but most with saddness. Freddie Gray was somebodies baby. He was a brother, a friend, a homeboy, and yes, he was Baltimore.
What happened to him has been happening, but this time, we had video. The crime perpetuated by those put in a position to fight crime could no longer be hidden.
The chicanery was exposed.
The covers were pulled, and what it revealed was an ugliness that ignites our city daily.
The pressure cooker if you will, has popped. And now, there is no turning back.
You saw unrest.
You saw the burning CVS.
A tragedy it was. But what else did you see?
Did the news media show the neighbors coming out of their homes to clean up?
Did you see community leaders standing in solidarity with the rest of the city?
Did you see the prayer that took place in the streets daily?
Did you see.
How about the resources that were given out by regular citizens. Did you see everyday folks in the community feeding others?
Did you see activist standing on the front lines speaking for the voiceless?
Did you see. Yea, I thought so, crickets.
But keep acting like you didn’t see. I saw. I applaud these unmentioned heroes.
I put off posting about it because the passion that resides deep in my heart about it sometimes scares me.
Within my passion, I’m still human. I still considered what others might think or say about my views. Who I’d be perceived as.
Trying to be politically correct.
And then it hit me.
I’m no politian.
In my writing, I’m always transparent.
I’m unable to hide the truth of who I am. So much has happened that, at this point, it matters not so much of what other antiquate me as.
I have children, and amongst them, a son. I am raising my son in a climate such as this and my talks of him being smart, following the rules, and knowing your rights has now shifted to my daughters. The scary part is that the information I give them, still may be enough.
It’s a thunderous roar within when you still, after four hundred years, have to talk to your sons and daughters about equality.
Folks can continue to act like it’s a sore that a bandaid can cover all they want to. The canker sore has festered far too long and it’s inflammed and oozing with the puss of racism, sexism, urbanism, exclusion, entitlement, white privilage, and everything else in between.
This infection has ruptured and spilled into a generation that many see as lost. Oh, but no see.
This new movement, they are more aware. More infected, and more severe than there predecessors ever were. They have a fire rubbling in their bellies and at this point, it can’t be stopped.
At the helm of this new movement are Baltimore City activist. Stepping up and educating. Swooping in and speaking, telling the truth of what lies beneath.
Folks like the ever talented Devin Allen, whose pictures of his hood during the uprising made it to Time magazine. He’s from west Baltimore and in his own words, he knew that the truth wouldn’t be shown in the media unless he shot it and told the story through his lens.
Young brothers like Kwame Rose, who didn’t know the impact he would have when he stood against the media, Geraldo Rivera in fact and told him, “get out of Baltimore City, because you aren’t reporting the truth.”
Activist like Deray Mckesson, hailed as a victor in the black lives matter movement and powerful voice against police brutality, who loves his blackness as well as yours, but accused of being a high level agitator simply because he tells the truth.
Empresses like Malacka Reed, a long time advocate for the youth of baltimore who spends her days making up women from the inside out, and who has taken the spiritual call to lead the women and youth of Baltimore City through the journey of truth and liberation.
They don’t understand.
These people are on fire for our city.
These people are on fire for the world.
There are several more who I haven’t named here. In urban communities all over the world, these game changers are ever present. We have a whole new generation of freedom fighters who have answered the call, and who are accused just as their predecessors were of stirring the pot. Well guess what, not only does the pot have to be stirred, the soup has to be served.
I get it, the powers that be don’t want our people to be fed. They want us to remain in darkness, unconscious, unwilling, and not knowing how to fight a systematic course of wrong way doing, acting, and thinking.
Why is the black lives matter declaration trying to be changed to all lives matter?
Why is it a problem that brothers and sisters speak this affirmation; black lives matter.
It’s not exclusive. It’s inclusive. You don’t have to be black to believe this statement to be true. Everyone is invited to acknowledge this truth.
It’s a declaration, a statement really to reaffirm who we are to ourselves because mainstream America tries to make us believe that our lives don’t matter.
When a teenaged African American male is left dead in the streets for several hours, while the whole Ferguson watches, including loved ones of the deceased, you certainly aren’t saying that our lives matter.
When you chase and then drag an African American Freedie Gray through Baltimore because he made eye contact, and a week later he’s dead, you certainly can’t believe that black life matters.
When an unarmed black man is put in a chokehold tactic that is prohibited by the NYPD, and restrained by officers to the point of saying I can’t breathe, and ignored, until he dies of cardiac arrest on the street, there is no way you believe black life matters.
When you pull an African American female from her car on a traffic stop, take her to jail, and then she turns up dead, you can’t truly believe that black lives matter.
When you casually pull up on an armed white male who you knew had shot and killed nine people in SC, and offer him a cheesburger, you make a statement that black life doesn’t matter.
That’s why we reaffirm it.
We scream it.
We hashtag it.
We pump our fist.
We feed it to the youth because they need the truth.
Black life matters, and I’m not asking permission to voice that, or to prove it. It is our inheritant right.
I love all life, please believe me, but ALL lives aren’t being handled the way black lives are. I stand victoriously today, and everyday, with all that is within me, because I know the truth. I validate it, I affirm it, I scream it. I write it. I breathe it. I sit in it. I take glory in it, and I mean it. Black Lives Matter.
My daughters in the midst of the uprising. It was my duty to have them be a part of this moment.
This moment marching through from city hall through downtown Baltimore was so surreal. At one point I stopped and broke out in tears.
Couldn’t believe we were still marching after all these years.
At city hall being a part of one of the many peaceful rallies and protest that took place in Baltimore City.
A protester holding up a very important sign during a peaceful march.
The nation of Islam during a prayer rally at city hall.
Myself and some others that connected during the march from city hall to Penn North, the heart of the unrest.
Prince announces a pop up shown in Baltimore and a rally for peace concert in memory and honor of Freddie Gray and others.
And I had to be there
Someone stopped me as I was walking into the concert venue to ask questions simply because I had on a t-shirt that read black lives matter. After he found out the educated sister I was, and not at all who he assumed I’d be, he swiftly moved on.
Me and my Auntie had an awesome time at the concert. The city had awesome energy.
The 365 Empress movement organized this beautiful event in Baltimore City, “Talk in the Park” headed by Malacka Reed. Business women of all races, and community organizers shared a wealth of information and resources. The
energy was amazing, and Malacka spoke with so much power and conviction.
Others at the talk were invited into the circle speak on their concerns, and my cousin used her voice to do so.
Had my daughter and little cousin with me soaking up good enrichment and learning at the Talk in the park.
After that talk, my mind was overloaded and I knew I had to get home to do the thing that soothes me most, I had to get to writing.
I’m no different than anyone else. I work hard to put food on the table. I follow the law, and respect others. I want the best for my life, and the lives of my children and loved ones. I care about people, that’s just who I am. I’m thankful that I was raised with the sense and knowledge to live and love with everyone alike. I was also raised to know history, believe in myself and to follow the truth.
Baltimore is the city I was raised in, but it’s just one of many cities across the nation that experiences racial profiling, injustice, and prejudice daily. We can all get involved in our own communities, and even beyond that. Use your voice in a positive way. Stay current on relevant issues, and let’s fight together for equality and justice for everyone. Laws need to be changed. People need to be able to depend on law enforcement, not be afraid of them. Let’s work together and change the world.
Peace and love and many blessings,