Justice in Black and White

photo credit: Susan Melkisethian via photopin cc
photo credit: Susan Melkisethian via photopin cc

Sorry, Mr. Obama. Justice cannot wait. We’ve waited long enough. Our voices will no longer be silent. We cannot afford to continue to stand by and be quiet while our children and men die in the streets at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve. An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. And the justice being dished out  throughout the justice system has played out in black and white.

Timothy McVeigh, Gary Ridgeway (Green River Killer), Charles Manson and James Holmes have several things in common. They are white men who committed some of the most atrocious crimes on American soil. They also lived to tell what they did. Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant and Dontre Hamilton also have backgrounds that resemble each other. They’re all black males. And they’re all dead.

Martin was minding his business when he was shot and killed by neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman. Davis and friends were listening to their music at a gas station when gunfire erupted. Davis was killed in a hail of bullets.  Brown, who was accused of robbing a store in Ferguson, Missouri of some cigarillos, never got the chance to tell his side of the story.  He was gunned down in the streets moments later by a white police officer after a confrontation.

photo credit: Stephen D. Melkisethian via photopin cc
photo credit: Stephen D. Melkisethian via photopin cc

Garner was basically minding his business as well before he lost his life when a New York police officer put a chokehold around his neck and killed the father of six. The 12-year-old Rice was playing with a play gun in a park when Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann did him in with a one-second drive-by shooting, leaving the youngster on the ground dying.

Hamilton, a transient who lived in the Milwaukee area, was fired upon 14 times at close range by a white police officer who received no criminal charges, even though he was fired from his job because he breached the department’s protocol. We’re not going to go back to riding in the back of the bus, Mr. Obama, and so we’re not going to let you or anyone else tell us to wait for what we believe is fundamentally right.

And that is the right to live.

Timothy McVeigh committed the ultimate terrorist act as an American when he blew up a federal building in Oklahoma in 1995 and lived to talk about what he did. Charles Manson, reviled as one of the most heinous killers in American history, is looking to get hitched behind bars as he serves out his life sentence. Ridgeway killed some 60 women in a serial murder spree. Yet he is alive and behind bars.

Martin never had an opportunity to ever get married and live to the full extent of his existence as his 17-year-old life was snuffed out tragically by Zimmerman. The BART police officer who shot and killed Grant in the back as he lay on the ground, served a minimum sentence of less than a year in prison after his conviction. No justice, no peace.

photo credit: jeffrey_putney via photopin cc
photo credit: jeffrey_putney via photopin cc

Why should we wait for the system to work for us when it was not designed and created to work for us in the first place? Why should we wait for due process when you, Mr. Obama, did not wait to become President of the United States? You didn’t want to wait until it was “your turn” in the presidential cycle, so why are we being instructed to wait? You did not wait because during your election platform that you ran on, you told the American people that it was a time for change. Remember those words, Mr. Obama?

So why are you going out of your way to tell black people to be patient when it comes to dealing with correcting the large mass of institutional racism that seats itself within the confines of our criminal justice system that refuses to hold law enforcement personnel accountable for their actions? Mr. Obama, your’re either going to be part of the problem or you’re going to be part of the solution.

Whatever you decide, Mr. Obama, the American people are not waiting for you or those other fake lawmakers on Capitol Hill to do something. Democracy is about the people expressing their views and opinions and exercising their rights to make change happen. We will not sit still anymore.

We’re tired of waiting for answers. We’re tired of waiting for solutions from those we’ve elected into office to help make our lives better. We have waited for justice and equality under the law for centuries.

And we’re still waiting.

We’re waiting to see justice come forward for the killers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown,  Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Dontre Hamilton, all coldly murdered while being black. Mr. President, please don’t tell my four black sons they have to be patient before equal protection under the law comes to fruition. A badge is not a license to kill and destroy. Systematic racism in our criminal justice system can be hacked the same way slavery was eventually abolished.

But this country doesn’t have another hundred years for it to get fixed. It needs to be straightened out now. We’ve been requested to protest peacefully, that’s it’s the American way, and that’s how we do things. This is where you are wrong, Mr. Obama. The very essence of this nation has been mired in provoked and unprovoked acts of action to be where it is today. Native Americans had their way of life basically erased by force. The call to action  spurred the non-violent Civil Right Movement.

That call cannot stop today. That call must be strategic, relentless and unwavering. Most of all, it must be what the people of the United States want. That’s real change.

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